Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Neighborhood networks 4: Who

The essence of neighborhood networks lies in the people who send and receive information that the networks host. The "people" here refers to residents, business owners, community representatives and anyone else who has a stake in the well-being of people coming by the neighborhood.

The developers of the neighborhood network are arbitrary, so long as they are not directly involved with the information that is sent or received. The developers only play the role of facilitating the flow of information. 

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Neighborhood networks 3: Where

Of course, the information system would need to be sourced in the neighborhood it represents. Rather than having a central and physical go-to location, the system would need to be accessible to all involved - residents and businesses - such that they can update information at any time.

Then again, residents and businesses are likely to have different preferences. Some may prefer to update via the web, other via e-mail or phone or even in person. 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Neighborhood networks 2: How

Hypothetically, a neighborhood network would consist of a flow of information to and from people who occupy it. The information system coordinating this flow might:

  • House residential and business directory information;
  • Enable residents and business owners to register, update or remove their details;
  • Encourage contributions from occupants themselves;
  • Provide businesses with value-added services, such as showcasing products;
  • Facilitate the physical movement of goods and services across the neighborhood;
  • Promote events targeting all neighborhood occupants;
  • Host discussions about infrastructural concerns of all occupants; and/or
  • Assist community-based organizations in mobilizing knowledge and human resources.
The information system could be based on:
  • Print media, ie: leaflets, newsletters, magazines, etc.
  • Visual media, ie: photo essays, videos, TV channels, etc.
  • Audio media, ie: CDs, podcasts, radio, etc.
  • All three, ie: a website. 
An iterative needs-assessment would also have to be built into the information system such that it is rated for usefulness by the occupants themselves for usefulness on a consistent basis. 

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Neighborhood networks 1: What and why

A neighborhood network, I speculate, consists of information flows between those who live, work and/or pass through in a particular neighborhood. 

Neighborhood networks can be useful because they can:
  1. Increase one's own general knowledge of surrounding people, businesses and events.
  2. Facilitate communication between demands and supplies.
  3. Create new avenues of marketing and promotion that yield loyal responses.
One potential reason why a neighborhood network would not be desirable is in the case of neighbors conducting activities that put each other at physical or mental risk. 

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Knowledge and action

Work that concerns social development seems to have gone from one extreme to another in the last 30 odd years.

We used to think that institutions knew what people needed and thus provided for these needs in the best possible way.

More recently, we seem to be thinking that people know their own needs best, and so to know how to provide for themselves given capabilities.

But the capabilities of one person are not the same for the next person and assuming this is an injustice. So, from a capability perspective, it appears more accurate (and humble) to say that nobody "knows" what the heck people need. Instead, learning about capabilities through observation, analysis and interpretation seems to be a better approach towards doing things that matter in peoples' lives

This is not to say that once a "solution" is observed, analyzed and interpreted, it will always apply. Human lives (preferences, tastes, moods, actions, etc) are contingent on different variables, so any solutions to development should be just as contingent

This should be continued. 

Friday, January 4, 2013

Chinese whispers

He said that she said that you don't like the way we do things. Ergo, in order to improve what we are, you need to change so that she can tell him to tell me how it is.

Or you could just tell me and we can get this done.

Institutions, including profitable ones, are there to enable people, not to disable them. Their enabling and disabling factors should be governed by Governments. It's not as simple as that, but it can be. Just tell it is like it is, no bullshit.

Happy 2013, world :)