Supporting Community with Location-Sensitive Mobile Applications

Supporting Community with Location-Sensitive Mobile Applications

John M. Carroll (The Pennsylvania State University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-152-0.ch023
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Abstract

We discuss the vision, plan, and status of a research project investigating community-oriented services and applications, comprising a wireless community network, in State College, Pennsylvania, USA. Our project specifically investigates new possibilities afforded by mobile and location-sensitive wireless networking access with respect to community engagement and informal learning, as well as broader changes in community attitudes and behaviors associated with the deployment of this new infrastructure.
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Introduction And Background

During the next several years, many American communities (cites, towns and other relatively populated areas) will consider investing in pervasive wireless networking infrastructures, with the intent of providing better broadband coverage for their citizens and also acting as an information technologies (IT) resource for municipal services. These infrastructures could broaden the currently-typical “Starbuck’s scenario” (accessing one’s email over a cup of coffee) to include ubiquitous interactions, that is, continuous and location-sensitive Internet access through personal devices. But why should municipalities and citizens do this? More specifically, what are there civic rationales for developing these infrastructures? Can these infrastructures serve as more than just a way to access the broader Internet, and additionally provide a means for civic engagement and civic action on a local scale? If so, what are examples of effective civic applications of public wireless infrastructures?

This area is rapidly gathering momentum both as research and as development. Much of the work in this area has focused on creating opportunities for interaction between friends (Burak & Sharon, 2004), classmates (Schilit, et. al,2003), distant strangers (Davis & Karahalios, 2005, Paay, 2005), game players (Chang & Goodman, 2004; Crabtree, et. al, 2005; Vogiazou et. al, 2005), and even dating partners (e.g. match.com offers mobile services) through matching and notification services. Other work focuses on providing users with information through mobile guides and the ability to provide users with information in educational settings such as museums (Kjeldskov, et. al, 2005; Sumi & Mase, 2000).

A few researchers have drafted scenarios that relate to community capacity building. Ananny et. al. (2003) describe a system used by residents of a housing complex who used a text messaging service to add captions to photos of their community as a way to deal with neighborhood change. Lane (2003) described a system in which users could access and add location-specific content to a place (museums, libraries, schools) providing a sense of community memory. Leimeister et. al, (2004) describe a scenario in which information is made available to virtual communities of cancer patients via web-based services. On a limited scale, systems such as Neighbornode (http://www.neighbornode.net/) have been created which allow for the creation of neighborhood hubs allowing news and information to be shared in a community.

Although some work has addressed community capacity building, most of it is policy discussion or envisionment (and not actual design, prototyping, and evaluation) and most of it has not focused on mobility and real-time interactions. For example, Gurstein (2002), in the research literature, as well as Intel’s (2005) whitepaper “Core Technologies for Developing a Digital Community Framework” and their 2006 “webinar” collaboration with the Knight Foundation and One Economy, emphasize wireless community applications but, in general, conflate applications specifically-enabled by wireless infrastructures (e.g., real-time, mobile interaction) with access to the Internet at all.

It is well known that people use technology to support and maintain existing social relationships in their homes, in the workplace, in their neighborhoods, and in community organizations (Center for the Digital Future, 2005; Horrigan, 2001; Wellman & Hampton, 1999; Wellman, et. al, 2001). However, the existing literature is quite desktop bound: It does not address how people might appropriate mobile/location-sensitive network services to maintain their connections to existing community organizations or to develop new connections. We are creating a test bed to explore this.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Civic Applications: Software designed to promote awareness for and engagement by citizens of a local community

Community Network: Computer system designed to support a geographical community by enhancing existing physical entities and social relationships

Civic Smart Mobs: A real-time gathering of individuals contacted through mobile technology for the purpose of conducting a civic activity, adapted from “smart mobs” (Rheingold, 2002)

Place-Based Blogging: An article or story along with follow-up discussion centered around a physical location; possibly as a location sensitive application

Mobile Problem Solving: Sharing and analysis of data while “on the go” in the process of solving a problem task

Location Sensitive Aapplications: Software that is enhanced by features that know and utilize the physical location of the user

Wiki: Web page(s) or content that can be easily and directly edited by Internet users

Participatory Design: Design process which directly engages end users for the purpose of ensuring that the design meets their needs

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Table of Contents
Foreword
Anthony Townsend
Preface
Marcus Foth
Acknowledgment
Marcus Foth
Chapter 1
Amanda Williams, Erica Robles, Paul Dourish
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Urbane-ing the City: Examining and Refining the Assumptions Behind Urban Informatics
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Chapter 2
Jaz Hee-Jeong Choi, Adam Greenfield
Once a city shaped by the boundary conditions of heavy industrialisation and cheap labour, within a few years Seoul has transformed itself to one of... Sample PDF
To Connect and Flow in Seoul: Ubiquitous Technologies, Urban Infrastructure and Everyday Life in the Contemporary Korean City
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Chapter 3
Nancy Odendaal
Recent literature on African cities examines the way in which social networks function as critical livelihood arteries in the ongoing survival... Sample PDF
Creating an Analytical Lens for Understanding Digital Networks in Urban South Africa
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Chapter 4
Wayne Beyea
Community planning is facing many challenges around the world, such as the rapid growth of megacities as well as urban sprawl. The State of Michigan... Sample PDF
Place Making Through Participatory Planning
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Chapter 5
Mike Ananny, Carol Strohecker
In this paper, we describe the design and installation of a new kind of public opinion forum—TexTales, a public, large-scale interactive projection... Sample PDF
TexTales: Creating Interactive Forums with Urban Publics
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Chapter 6
Jenny Preece
This chapter describes a small networked community in which residents of an apartment building in Washington, D.C., USA supplement their... Sample PDF
An Event-Driven Community in Washington, DC: Forces That Influence Participation
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Chapter 7
Fiorella De Cindio
After more than a decade of e-participation initiatives at the urban level, what remains obscure is the alchemy—i.e., the “arcane” combination of... Sample PDF
Moments and Modes for Triggering Civic Participation at the Urban Level
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Chapter 8
Michael Veith
Societies face serious challenges when trying to integrate migrant communities. One-sided solutions do not pay tribute to the complexity of this... Sample PDF
Fostering Communities in Urban Multi-Cultural Neighbourhoods: Some Methodological Reflections
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Chapter 9
Victor M. Gonzalez, Kenneth L. Kraemer, Luis A. Castro
The practical use of information technology devices in domestic and residential contexts often results in radical changes from their envisioned... Sample PDF
Beyond Safety Concerns: On the Practical Applications of Urban Neighbourhood Video Cameras
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Chapter 10
Colleen Morgan
This chapter explores how we may design located information and communication technologies (ICTs) to foster community sentiment. It focuses... Sample PDF
The Figmentum Project: Appropriating Information and Communication Technologies to Animate Our Urban Fabric
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Chapter 11
Barbara Crow, Michael Longford, Kim Sawchuk, Andrea Zeffiro
The Mobile Media Lab (MML) is a Canadian interdisciplinary research team exploring wireless communications, mobile technologies and locative media... Sample PDF
Voices from Beyond: Ephemeral Histories, Locative Media and the Volatile Interface
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Chapter 12
Helen Klaebe
This chapter defines, explores and Illustrates research at the intersection of people, place and technology in cities. First, we theorise the notion... Sample PDF
Embedding an Ecology Notion in the Social Production of Urban Space
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Chapter 13
Vassilis Kostakos, Eamonn O’Neill
In this paper, we describe a platform that enables us to systematically study online social networks alongside their real-world counterparts. Our... Sample PDF
Cityware: Urban Computing to Bridge Online and Real-World Social Networks
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Chapter 14
Katharine S. Willis
In our everyday lives, we are surrounded by information which weaves itself silently into the very fabric of our existence. Much of the time we act... Sample PDF
Information Places: Navigating Interfaces between Physical and Digital Space
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Chapter 15
Viktor Bedö
This chapter contributes to the ongoing effort to understand the nature of locative urban information by proposing that locative urban information... Sample PDF
A Visual Approach to Locative Urban Information
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Chapter 16
Tristan Thielmann
Car navigation systems, based on “augmented reality,” no longer direct the driver through traffic by simply using arrows, but represent the... Sample PDF
Navigation Becomes Travel Scouting: The Augmented Spaces of Car Navigation Systems
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Chapter 17
Daisuke Tamada
A lot of street view services, which present views of urban landscapes, have recently appeared. The conventional method for making street views... Sample PDF
QyoroView: Creating a Large-Scale Street View as User-Generated Content
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Chapter 18
Hideyuki Nakanishi, Toru Ishida, Satoshi Koizumi
Many research projects have studied various aspects of smart environments including smart rooms, home, and offices. Few projects, however, have... Sample PDF
Virtual Cities for Simulating Smart Urban Public Spaces
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Chapter 19
Andrew Hudson-Smith
Digital cities are moving well beyond their original conceptions as entities representing the way computers and communications are hard wired into... Sample PDF
The Neogeography of Virtual Cities: Digital Mirrors into a Recursive World
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Chapter 20
Laura Forlano
This chapter introduces the role of community wireless networks (CWNs) in reconfiguring people, places and information in cities. CWNs are important... Sample PDF
Codespaces: Community Wireless Networks and the Reconfiguration of Cities
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Chapter 21
Katrina Jungnickel, Genevieve Bell
From WiFi (802.11b) with its fixed and mobile high-speed wireless broadband Internet connectivity to WiMAX (802.16e), the newest wireless protocol... Sample PDF
Home is Where the Hub Is? Wireless Infrastructures and the Nature of Domestic Culture in Australia
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Chapter 22
Andres Sevtsuk
This chapter presents the iSPOTS project, which collects and maps data of WiFi usage on the Massachusetts Institute of Technology campus in... Sample PDF
Mapping the MIT Campus in Real Time Using WiFi
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Chapter 23
John M. Carroll
We discuss the vision, plan, and status of a research project investigating community-oriented services and applications, comprising a wireless... Sample PDF
Supporting Community with Location-Sensitive Mobile Applications
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Chapter 24
Christine Satchell
Early 21st century societies are evolving into a hybrid of real and synthetic worlds where everyday activities are mediated by technology. The... Sample PDF
From Social Butterfly to Urban Citizen: The Evolution of Mobile Phone Practice
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Chapter 25
Jong-Sung Hwang
u-City is South Korea’s answer to urban community challenges leveraging ubiquitous computing technology to deliver state-of-the-art urban services.... Sample PDF
u-City: The Next Paradigm of Urban Development
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Chapter 26
Dan Shang, Jean-François Doulet, Michael Keane
This chapter examines the development of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in urban China, focusing mainly on their impact on social... Sample PDF
Urban Informatics in China: Exploring the Emergence of the Chinese City 2.0
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Chapter 27
Francesco Calabrese
The real-time city is now real! The increasing deployment of sensors and handheld electronic devices in recent years allows for a new approach to... Sample PDF
WikiCity: Real-Time Location-Sensitive Tools for the City
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Chapter 28
Eric Paulos, RJ Honicky, Ben Hooker
In this chapter, we present an important new shift in mobile phone usage—from communication tool to “networked mobile personal measurement... Sample PDF
Citizen Science: Enabling Participatory Urbanism
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Chapter 29
Mark Shepard
What happens to urban space given a hypothetical future where all information loses its body, that is, when it is offloaded from the material... Sample PDF
Extreme Informatics: Toward the De-Saturated City
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Chapter 30
Roger J. Burrows
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Urban Informatics and Social Ontology
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