New Community Networks
In an era of declining communities, grassroots activists all over the world are building community networks designed to reinvigorate communities by encouraging dialogue and providing a forum for voices that too often go unheard. Via new computer neworking technology, new communites can now connect electronically to pursue activities such as community and public health projects, long-distance learning, performances, and "virtual spaces."
Community networks are computer systems that are designed for community use. They are not "on-ramps" to the "information superhighway." Community networks are generally free to use, although some systems charge small fees. Something of a community movement now exists, with nearly 300 systems in operation, hundreds more in the planning, and over 500,000 users!
Thanks to Morino Institute for their support in making this information widely available. The information contained in these web pages does not necessarily represent the views of the Morino Institute, nor is the institute responsible for any errors contained within.
Thanks also to Addison-Wesley for permission to reprint the appendices and other material from New Community Networks. Please see their web site for information on this and other Addison-Wesley titles.
A number of schools and universities have integrated this book into their curriculum, including Harvard University, University of Texas, University of Michigain, Ohio State University, The Evergreen State College, University of Indiana, and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
The information in these pages first appeared in New Community Networks: Wired for Change, published by Addison-Wesley in 1996. Since community networks (or, for that matter, any technology) don't exist in a vacuum, I have included social analyses and critiques that provide some of the motivation and design criteria for developing community networks.
In addition to social, political, and economic analysis, I have included practical information for developing community networks, and democratic and community-oriented technology generally. These include working with organizations, developing a community network organization, and working with the technology.
I am looking forward to working with you - in spirit or in actuality - in the future. Together we can make democratic communication technology a reality.
Review copies are available to journalists (who may write a review) and educators (who may use it in the class). Please send e-mail to Tracy Russ or consult the Addison-Wesley web page.
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Network Movement home page.
Return / Go to Seattle Community Network home page.
Return / go to the Community Network Movement home page.