Summer 2003

AFCN at the CTCNet Conference
by Richard Lowenberg
Richard Lowenberg

Richard Lowenberg

The Association for Community Networking is an educational non-profit corporation dedicated to fostering and supporting "Community Networking"--community-based creation and provision of appropriate technology services. AFCN's mission is to improve the visibility, viability, and vitality of Community Networking by assisting and connecting people and organizations, building public awareness, identifying best practices, encouraging research, influencing policy, and developing products and services.

At the CTCNet Conference in Washington, DC, the AFCN Open Source Initiative and Awards will be announced. The initiative, which is promoting the creation of Open Source community networking software tools and application, is putting out a call for submissions, and will offer a financial award for best solutions.

Also, the organization's leadership will take the opportunity to discuss new strategies and future initiatives for the organization itself, with the input of all conference attendees who want to join in. Though initiated by early exemplars in the late 1970s and through the BBS days of the 1980s, the current version of Community Networking organizations and activities has been relatively the same for the past ten years, since around the time that the Internet went public. The times, they are a-changin'. It is time to rethink the context, needs, goals and actions that surround local community development in the "information society" to continue to give greatest relevance and effectiveness to the next generation of Community Networking initiatives.

AFCN is currently encouraging individuals to be candidates for Board and Officer positions. The organization needs smart, creative and influential new leadership. It's time for some of the dedicated "old guard" to rotate out of office, and for new humane energies. If you are technically skilled, or a builder of social networks, or an economic mover and shaker and are already too busy, you're the person we want. Give it some thought, then .

The AFCN web site offers information about the organization and about the many community networks that have spurred a movement, a wealth of online resources, research, lessons learned, personal contacts, and active links to site-specific experiences; and next steps to take in order to grow a community networking project where you live.

Richard Lowenberg is a tele-community planner, environmental designer, media artist, cultural activist, and Executive Director of the Davis Community Network. He has been a board member of AFCN since 2000.

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