Cyberdemocracy: Technology, Cities, and Civic Networks

By Roza Tsagarousianou; Damian Tambini et al. | Go to book overview

6

An Internet resource for neighbourhoods

Ed Schwartz

Neighborhoods Online is an Internet resource centre established by the Institute for the Study of Civic Values in Philadelphia, in co-operation with a local community network known as ‘LibertyNet’, to assist groups both within the city and around the country that are working to improve conditions in the neighbourhoods and communities where we live.

On the surface, this would appear to be an improbable project. Organised nationally—even internationally—its primary goal is to assist organisations operating at the local level, as distinct from local community networks examined elsewhere in this volume, whose primary goal is to extend online access and develop resources for individuals.

By contrast, those of us who are building Neighborhoods Online are concentrating on groups working in inner-city neighbourhoods in the United States, where Internet access is still largely out of reach. The E-mail lists and Websites associated with the project are designed to help staff and leadership of these organisations connect with one another, gain quick access to information related to neighbourhood problems, and keep track of legislation and public policy decisions that will affect them.

The activists and policy-makers who now use Neighborhoods Online don’t know one another, but a long-term goal of the project is to bring them together around common issues and goals. Where the mass media and corporations are now trying to configure the Internet as a new centre for broadcasting and marketing, Neighborhoods Online is exploring its potential for political empowerment.

To explain how Neighborhoods Online is evolving, I want first to describe the community-based organisations and broad-based neighbourhoods’ movement that it is intended to serve. From there, I will outline the basic steps that we are taking to meet their needs. Finally, I

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Cyberdemocracy: Technology, Cities, and Civic Networks
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Acknowledgements ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Figures and Tables vii
  • 1 - Electronic Democracy and the Civic Networking Movement in Context 1
  • 2 - Virtually Going Places 18
  • 3 - Back to the Future of Democracy? 41
  • 4 - Berlin in the Net 60
  • References 82
  • 5 - Civic Networking and Universal Rights to Connectivity: Bologna 84
  • 6 - An Internet Resource for Neighbourhoods 110
  • 7 - The First Amendment Online 125
  • Notes 149
  • 8 - Manchester 152
  • 9 - Electronic Democracy and the Public Sphere 167
  • Index 179
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