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Online networks in low income areas

Our report into the viability of local online channels in low income areas has now been published. It describes and reflects on four experimental projects carried out during 2011-2012 in separate localities in England. The basic rationale was to test whether resident-run online neighbourhood networks could be established in low income neighbourhoods and if they […]

Stimulating digital conversations in low income areas: lessons from Local 2.0 and e-democracy.org

Our 2010 research study, along with plenty of anecdotal evidence, has helped build up a convincing argument for investment in neighbourhood online networks. We argue that investment and intervention may be especially needed in low income areas because of the potential for power imbalances to become exaggerated. People who are accustomed to power and influence […]

Neighbourhood websites, Twitter and Facebook: the council view

Our recent survey of local government officers and elected members suggests that they regard neighbourhood websites as the most useful online channel, above others such as Facebook or Twitter. We invited respondents to assess the following as ‘not useful’, ‘fairly useful’, or ‘very useful’ or indicate if they ‘don’t use’: 1. Local residents’ personal Facebook […]

Online contributes to the diversity of social networks

Some years ago there was interest in the possibility of what was known as ‘cyber-balkanisation’ – the expectation that online activity would create silos of communities of interest at the expense of diversity of networks; and perhaps that local communities based on face-to-face contact might atrophy as a direct consequence. I even wrote an article […]

Councils and neighbourhood networks: new survey findings

Local council officers and elected members regard neighbourhood websites as the most useful online channel, above others such as Facebook or Twitter, according to our latest survey results. The level of awareness of these sites has increased significantly over the past year. The survey report suggests an increasing need for council guidance on how to […]

Online sources of local information

Almost two thirds of American adults use at least three different types of media every week to get news and information about their local community, according to the latest report from the Pew Internet and American Life Project. Fifteen per cent of them rely on at least six different kinds of media weekly. Broadcast sources […]

A few words from authorities

A number of reassuring and generous comments about the Online neighbourhood networks study have reached us since it was published back in December. In addition to those we mentioned at the time,  here are two which mean a great deal to us, because they come from inspirational figures, either side of the Atlantic, both of […]

Building up the research evidence

Chamberlain Forum have just published a short study of ‘hyperlocal’ websites, using case study examples from the West Midlands. The authors note that ‘these sites can make it easier for residents and public services to share information and work together to decide what should be done and how to do it. In coproduction jargon, they […]

ʻDoes William Rose make faggots?ʼ Neighbourhoods seen through online timeslices

As part of the research for the Online neighbourhood networks study published a few weeks ago, we set out to assess the diversity of content of the case study sites (Brockley Central, East Dulwich Forum and Harringay Online). We established three ‘timeslices’ – different six hours periods on separate weekdays during the research period – […]

And this proves it!

Do neighbourhood websites have a positive social impact locally? For those who’ve suspected and long wanted convincing evidence, we think the wait is over.  The report of the Online neighbourhood networks study was launched yesterday during a lively conference in London. Hosted by Capital Ambition, a group of about 90 defied some nasty travel conditions to […]