Critical community informatics: Social placemaking using ICTs in residential developments

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Abstract

This paper will report on a multidisciplinary pilot study undertaken at the Gold Coast, Australia by a research team from Bond University. The study is the result of collaboration between communication researchers and a residential developer with a long history of high quality development activity on the Gold Coast and eastern Australia generally. The distinguishing characteristic of this project is that the developer – Sunland Group – is Bahai. The values of community as defined by the Bahai Faith are explicit in the way the owners of The Sunland Group approach aspects of the development process. The research project has taken the community value orientation of Bahai to use as a critical assessment tool. Rather than study aspects of community as they exist, the research critically seeks to establish if ICT’s can be used in residential spaces to construct, perhaps even socially engineer community in ways that support the developer’s preferred outcomes of collaboration, family, social support, kindness, affection and civility. This project’s value orientation can be contrasted with established Community Informatics, in that the latter has an administrative focus, while this project has a critical and instrumental set of objectives that raise questions of ideology for the built environment and for social placemaking. The researchers face the challenge of incorporation into commercial programmatic activity, in particular in managing questions of research ethics by assisting the developer to enhance a commercially viable products and pass on higher market values to residents and thereby profit from the research. The Bahai value system can be seen as ideological, navigating the line between commercial development pragmatics and critical intervention into everyday capitalist enterprise. The research investigates how ICTs may offer an effective way to engineer social placemaking and an improved living experience for residents and as such offer models for residential developments elsewhere.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2013
EventInternational Association for Media and Communication Research (IAMCR): Crises, 'Creative Destruction' and the Global Power and Communciation Orders - Dublin City University, Dublin, Ireland
Duration: 26 Jun 201329 Jun 2013
https://iamcr.org/congress/dublin2013

Conference

ConferenceInternational Association for Media and Communication Research (IAMCR)
Abbreviated titleIAMCR
CountryIreland
CityDublin
Period26/06/1329/06/13
Internet address

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Breen, M., Brand, J. E., Brodmerkel, S., Birt, J. R., Bajracharya, B., & Henson, D. F. (2013). Critical community informatics: Social placemaking using ICTs in residential developments. Paper presented at International Association for Media and Communication Research (IAMCR), Dublin, Ireland.