Seeking Togetherness: Moving Toward a Comparative Evaluation Framework in an Interdisciplinary DIY Networking Project
ACM Press, New York
There is renewed interest in community networks as a mechanism for local neighbourhoods to find their voice and maintain local ownership of knowledge. In a post-Snowden, big data, age of austerity there is both widespread questioning of what happens to public generated data shared over 'free' services such as Facebook, and also a renewed focus on self-provisioning where there are gaps in digital service provision. In this paper we introduce an EU funded collaborative project ('MAZI') that is exploring how Do-It-Yourself approaches to building community networks might foster social cohesion, knowledge sharing and sustainable living through four pilots across Europe. A key challenge is to develop a shared evaluation approach that will allow us to make sense of what we are learning across highly diverse local situations and disciplinary approaches. In this paper we describe our initial approaches and the challenges we face.