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Low-Income Communities: Technological Strategies for Nurturing, Community, Empowerment and Self- Sufficiency at a Low- Income Housing Development Richard.

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Presentation on theme: "Low-Income Communities: Technological Strategies for Nurturing, Community, Empowerment and Self- Sufficiency at a Low- Income Housing Development Richard."— Presentation transcript:

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2 Low-Income Communities: Technological Strategies for Nurturing, Community, Empowerment and Self- Sufficiency at a Low- Income Housing Development Richard L. OBryant Department of Urban Studies and Planning Massachusetts Institute of Technology

3 Presentation Outline Research Problem Research Problem Research Question (s) Research Question (s) Hypothesis Hypothesis Prior Research and Theory Base Prior Research and Theory Base Camfield Estates-MIT Creating Community Connections Project Camfield Estates-MIT Creating Community Connections Project Research Methods Research Methods Findings Findings Discussion Discussion

4 Research Problem

5 Policies for assisting low-income communities have moved from effecting social change to understanding personal capacities of Low- income individuals and families Policies for assisting low-income communities have moved from effecting social change to understanding personal capacities of Low- income individuals and families Isolation, dislocation and alienation of Low- income individuals and families from mainstream Isolation, dislocation and alienation of Low- income individuals and families from mainstream Information based economy and how Low- income individuals and families participate Information based economy and how Low- income individuals and families participate

6 Research Question

7 Research Question(s) Can information technology and Internet access play a role in building a sense of empowerment for low-income residents to strengthen and build their community toward becoming more self-sufficient? Can information technology and Internet access play a role in building a sense of empowerment for low-income residents to strengthen and build their community toward becoming more self-sufficient? With a personal computer and Internet access does an increase occur in human capital and social capital? With a personal computer and Internet access does an increase occur in human capital and social capital?

8 Research Question(s) What is the nature of todays low-income community challenges that makes the presence of personal computing technology and Internet access so promising? What is the nature of todays low-income community challenges that makes the presence of personal computing technology and Internet access so promising? Can realizing this promise be accomplished by simply having public access at local technology centers or is it necessary to have it in the home? Can realizing this promise be accomplished by simply having public access at local technology centers or is it necessary to have it in the home?

9 Research Question(s) What technology implementation paths have been suggested or tried to bridge the digital divide or assist in community building and empowerment efforts? What technology implementation paths have been suggested or tried to bridge the digital divide or assist in community building and empowerment efforts? What are possible strategies for using technology to strengthen families and communities? What are possible strategies for using technology to strengthen families and communities?

10 Hypothesis

11 Hypothesis Using community technology to support building Human Capital and Social Capital are necessary to build a sense of Empowerment and self-sufficiency Using community technology to support building Human Capital and Social Capital are necessary to build a sense of Empowerment and self-sufficiency

12 Prior Research and Theory Base

13 Prior Research Evolution of information technology and planning Evolution of information technology and planning The Emergence of Community Technology The Emergence of Community Technology Federal Efforts to Assist Low-income Communities Federal Efforts to Assist Low-income Communities

14 Information Technology and Planning 1960s1970s1980s1990s Operational Tasks Management Needs Executive Decision Making Collective Design Evolving Concerns of Planning and Information Technology - Klosterman, 1997

15 Community Meetings Individual Plan Review Human Proxies Letter and Newspaper- based discourse Same TimeDifferent Time Same Place Different Place Collaborative Planning Systems Media-assistedReview Community GIS Cable TV access video conferencing Lists Internet Discussion Groups Same TimeDifferent Time Same Place Different Place Advances in information technologies Implementation Environment of Public Discourse Managing Public Discourse – Shiffer, 1997

16 Information Technology and Planning The real potential for capitalizing on IT is in shaping the planning processes The real potential for capitalizing on IT is in shaping the planning processes To capitalize on IT it is crucial to improve local governance through reduced bureaucracy and devolution of authority To capitalize on IT it is crucial to improve local governance through reduced bureaucracy and devolution of authority Give the local communities control over information about themselves making it less necessary to deal with downtown Give the local communities control over information about themselves making it less necessary to deal with downtown Information Technologies that change Relationships between Low-income Communities and the Public and Nonprofit Agencies that serve them – Ferreira, 1999

17 Community Technology Individual, Family and/or Community Community Content Community Content Community Technology Centers Community Technology Centers Community Networks Community Networks Using technology to support and meet the goals of a community - Beamish, 1999 Using technology to support and meet the goals of a community - Beamish, 1999

18 Community Content Community Content Community Technology Centers Community Technology Centers Community Networks Community Networks Relevant Information and data Latent vs. Evident Personal vs. Social Publicly accessible technology (digital divide) Technical vs. Social Quantity vs. Quality Technology augmenting existing social networks Online communities (public vs. private) More relevant with community content and centers

19 Federal Efforts to Assist Low- income Communities Historical Patterns in Federal Policy: Continuity amidst change Historical Patterns in Federal Policy: Continuity amidst change Foundations of Federal Policy: The New Deal and Beyond Foundations of Federal Policy: The New Deal and Beyond From Slumless Cities to Area Redevelopment: Aid to Communities in Postwar Prosperity From Slumless Cities to Area Redevelopment: Aid to Communities in Postwar Prosperity Community Action, Model Cities, and the Special Impact Program Community Action, Model Cities, and the Special Impact Program The Roots of Retreat: Community Policy in the 1970s The Roots of Retreat: Community Policy in the 1970s The end of the New Deal Era The end of the New Deal Era Revising the Past: Clintons Community Policy Revising the Past: Clintons Community Policy Creating a New Policy Environment Creating a New Policy Environment Swimming against the Tide: A Brief History of Federal Policy in Poor Communities – OConnor, 1998

20 Prior Research and Theory Base Human Capital Social Capital Empowerment Skill development for confidence and sense of ability Using IT extends concept beyond individual Self- Sufficiency Repeatable skills and abilities for sustainability Support systems and networks for resource sharing Framework Relationship Table Analytical Framework Conceptual Framework

21 Human Capital Knowledge: Knowledge: Command of a body of facts Skill: Skill: Facility, developed through practice, with the means to carry out a task Talent: Talent: inborn facility for performing a task Behavior: Behavior: observable ways of acting that contribute to accomplishing a task Human Capital Metaphor: Whats in a name? – Davenport, 2001

22 Social Capital Knowledge Talent Activism Skill Social capital connecting Human Capital containers Social Contact: Social Contact: frequency of social contact with friends, relatives, and workmates. Civic Engagement: Civic Engagement: Participation in voluntary organizations and political activism Sense of Community: Sense of Community: strong attitude toward community – a motivated and responsible sense of belonging Capitalizing on the Internet Social Contact, Civic Engagement, and Sense of Community – Haase, Wellman, Witte, Hampton, 2002

23 Empowerment Model Individual Empowerment Organizational Empowerment Community Empowerment Individual Empowerment 1. – Sense of Control 2. – Critical Awareness 3. – Participatory Behavior Empowerment Theory: Psychological, Organizational and Community Levels of Analysis –Zimmerman,1999

24 Self-Sufficiency Healthy Community Elements Income/ Assets Education/Skills Housing/ Food Safety/ Environment Human Services Relationships Personal Attributes Strong/Stable High Risk LONG-TERM SELF-SUFFICIENCY: A Practice-Based Anti-Poverty Analysis – Asian Neighborhood Design Network, 1996

25 Camfield Estates-MIT Creating Community Connections Project

26 Project Site Camfield Estates, Roxbury, MA Member of Demonstration Disposition Member of Demonstration Disposition Predominantly African-American (75%) Predominantly African-American (75%) 102 units and 400 residents 102 units and 400 residents All residents classified as low income according to HUDs guidelines All residents classified as low income according to HUDs guidelines Neighborhood Technology Center (NTC) on the premises Neighborhood Technology Center (NTC) on the premises Camfield Estates, Roxbury, MA Member of Demonstration Disposition Member of Demonstration Disposition Predominantly African-American (75%) Predominantly African-American (75%) 102 units and 400 residents 102 units and 400 residents All residents classified as low income according to HUDs guidelines All residents classified as low income according to HUDs guidelines Neighborhood Technology Center (NTC) on the premises Neighborhood Technology Center (NTC) on the premises

27 Research Project Goal to use information technology and Internet access to empower residents to make informed decisions about issues and events that affect their lives Goal to use information technology and Internet access to empower residents to make informed decisions about issues and events that affect their lives Personal computer (HP), two years of cable modem Internet access (RCN), 8-week training (Williams Consulting), Microsoft Office Professional Personal computer (HP), two years of cable modem Internet access (RCN), 8-week training (Williams Consulting), Microsoft Office Professional

28 Research Methods

29 PHASE I: PHASE I: Pre-Survey and Understanding PHASE II: PHASE II: Community Technology - Introductory/Specialized Courses and the Creating Community Connections (C3) System PHASE III: PHASE III: Building Community, Empowerment and Self-Sufficiency PHASE IV: PHASE IV: Post-Survey and Analysis

30 Phase I Relationship building and acculturation Relationship building and acculturation Survey instrument development Survey instrument development (community interests and satisfaction, social networks (strong and weak ties), neighboring, awareness of community resources, community satisfaction, community involvement, empowerment, self-sufficiency, computer experience, hobbies, interests and information needs, assets and income, and demographics) Outreach and recruitment Outreach and recruitment COUHES Review Board Approval COUHES Review Board Approval

31 Phase II Creating Community Connections (C3) System - Creating Community Connections (C3) System - ArsDigita Community System (ACS), open-source software platform comprised of TCL (scripting language), AOL Server (web server), and Oracle Enterprise Server (database) running on Redhat Linux (operating system) (Creating Community Connections - Pinkett, 2002) Hewlett-Packard Brio BA400 Minitower computers Hewlett-Packard Brio BA400 Minitower computers ( specifications: Intel Celeron 500 MHz processor, 64 MB RAM, 10 GB HD, 10/100 Ethernet Network Interface Card (NIC), Windows 2000, and a HP color monitor )

32 C3 System GIS Component ARC Ims Linux Machine IPlanet Windows NT AOL 3.0 Oracle Connection of C3 System Located at MIT Internet Coaxial Connection download 10 Mbs and 2Mbs upstream Computer and Internet connection in the home at Camfield

33 Phase II 8 Week Basic Training 8 Week Basic Training Specialized On-line training Specialized On-line training ( educational services, financial services, shopping and retail services, government services and housing services ) C3 System Training C3 System Training ( news and announcements, organization and business database, geographic information system (GIS) maps, job and volunteer opportunity postings, surveys and polls, online résumés, personalized web portals, and site-wide search capabilities ) ( Creating Community Connections - Pinkett, 2002)

34 Phase III Develop Asset Base Personal Profiles Community Resources Mapping Resources ( 757 businesses, 178 organizations, 67 churches, and 29 schools )

35 Phase IV Post Survey Post Survey ( Training experience, General & Local Computer and Internet Use, Empowerment & Technology Use ) Data Analysis Quantitative (Human capital, social capital, community involvement, empowerment, and self- sufficiency) Qualitative (one-on-one semi-structured and open ended interviews, direct observations)

36 Results Intellectual Infrastructure Intellectual Infrastructure Connectedness to Camfield board Connectedness to Camfield board Expanded Local Ties Expanded Local Ties Heightened Awareness of Community Resources Heightened Awareness of Community Resources Renewed Confidence and Willingness to Learn Renewed Confidence and Willingness to Learn Staying Informed Locally, Nationally and Internationally Staying Informed Locally, Nationally and Internationally Addressing Basic Needs Addressing Basic Needs

37 Low-Income Communities: Technological Strategies for Nurturing, Community, Empowerment and Self- Sufficiency at a Low- Income Housing Development Richard L. OBryant Department of Urban Studies and Planning Massachusetts Institute of Technology


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