[Air-l] networking communities

Leslie Tkach tkach at japan.email.ne.jp
Thu Aug 23 13:33:29 PDT 2001

Hello, Dr. Murray,

You wrote regarding "networking communities."

> I would appreciate any help members of the list can provide regarding =
> studies of locally computer networked communities. Can anyone point me to =
> references that cover the impact of networking such communities (for =
> instance placing networked computers in peoples homes who all live on the =
> same street)? I am particularly interested in that work that looks at the =
> social capital that such initiatives produce.=20

There was an experiment in a small town in Japan, roughly 
about 1995 or 1996 (I can dig out the references for you if you can
read Japanese or have access to someone who can help you 
translate). Approximately 300 to 400 residents of Yamada-cho
in Toyama Prefecture had networked computers installed in
their homes by the municipal government for approximately 
six months. 

While the response to the networked "smart-town" initiative
was fairly positive overall, a number of older users apparently
experienced learning-curve concerns in handling the computers.
A number of university students from the Tokyo area volunteered
their time during the summer holidays that year to instruct
these older computer users on how to utilize computers.
The experiment has since been disbanded, and I have not heard
of similar initiatives in other communities. However, I speculate
that in the future, similar programs may be developed further in
Japan as part of the federal government's "E-Japan" policy. To
date, though, I do not have knowledge of such further

Hope this helps. Please contact me privately if you would like
the citations/references.

Leslie M. Tkach
Postgraduate Student
Graduate School of International Political Economy
University of Tsukuba, Tsukuba, Japan
E-mail: tkach at japan.email.ne.jp

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