Developing Community Informatics Systems
The development of community informatics systems as a broad economic, social and political force is the focus of a research project led by Michael Gurstein, visiting professor of management. Supported by a grant from the Ford Foundation, the project aims to expand research, policy, programming, commercial and teaching activities supporting the development of the community informatics sector.
Community informatics is the application of information technologies to enable the achievement of community objectives. Initially used in geographical communities, the concept is now being applied to virtual communities based on common interests, industries or marketplaces. The project will bring together the best current thinking of practitioners, academics and industry experts. Results will be presented in book form, potentially supplemented by a web site and CD-ROM. This comprehensive "living document" can provide an initial electronic architecture and resources for creating and maintaining a vertical community informatics sector as well as horizontal "thematic" sub-sectors. Gurstein anticipates that the project will also help to refocus policy attention on how the Internet is used and how it could be used to enable the betterment of communities -- community wealth creation; community social, economic and cultural development; and community empowerment.