Fall-Winter 2002-2003

Editors' Introduction: Community Technology in a Post 9-11 World (Part II)
by Peter Miller and Richard Civille

The slowdown in the rapid expansion of community technology in light of the Dot Com bubble burst and the events and follow-up to September 11, 2001, was the subject of our last editorial introduction and still defines our present context. The major issue we continue to face is this: Will the consolidation that is taking place make the most of the community technology development boom, preserving and extending model programs and lessons, or will the winding down encapsulate all the minuses as well as pluses of the boom, only on a reduced scale?

The options are not mutually exclusive. We believe we've captured some of the major pluses here: promising updates from CTCNet and AFCN, model profiles of projects from around the country and around the world, as the international community technology movement gathers momentum since its first global community networking congress in Barcelona in December 2000. This past September, the ComTechReview co-sponsored a two week long international online orm on community technology called "CivicNet '02" Building Local Power With Community Networks. From September 18 until October 2, over one hundred and fifty participants from over fifteen countries attended a series of virtual roundtables, open discussions, book reviews with authors, and special resource sessions. Discussions centered on the practice of facilitating and moderating online discussions, the increasingly globalized environment for community technology initiatives, and emerging tools and technologies that have the potential to empower local communities in the future.

This online forum was the third in a series of "Virtual CivicNets" that began in the late 1990s and are summarized at the beginning of our International section.

Will an online interactive forum like CivicNet become a "regular feature" for future issues and subscribers of the Community Technology Review? The editors were excited by the high quality of the discussions and the gold mine of reference material, much of which is included in our developing interactive "Resource" section below where readers contribute to the ongoing compilation of useful papers and reports, discussion lists and web sites, organizations and application service providers. Everyone who registered for CivicNet '02 will be receiving a copy of the current issue along with a special CD-ROM of the online forum proceedings.

As our web site is now receiving over 1,000 individual site visits per week, with each visit averaging over ten minutes in length, we're eager to explore new ways for the Review to become increasingly engaging and interactive with readers and subscribers. Thanks to the addition of CTC VISTA Melissa Daigle as Assistant Editor, our issues will be more frequent over the coming year, to provide us with more opportunities to publicize more good projects and resources.

We know there is growing interest in community technology and not many forums available for addressing its issues in an extended manner. We will be exploring ways in the year ahead to increase our visibility, expand this publication, and improve ways for people to engage in discussions about the issues and projects described. We welcome you as a contributor (see sidebar), and we welcome your comments on our views here and in the accompanying pieces, another of the interactive features we began in the last issue and continue here. Let us know what you think. pm & rc

Peter Miller and Richard Civille are co-editors of the Community Technology Review.

Post a comment

Remember personal info?

* Denotes required field.