This page is now part of Mediation Technology's archives the tabs above will take you to current pages
Technology, Networks and Community:
A seminar for Cambridge City Council
in conjunction with
Anglia Polytechnic University
Technology allows a freer exchange of information. It creates networks of people who exchange information when and how they choose, and who form their own conclusions. This makes organisations more effective and challenges traditional forms of authority.
Networks break down traditional hierarchical barriers, and cross organisational boundaries. Users are now starting to interact with organisations, instead of just taking what they are given. This applies to political organisations as well as commercial ones.
Technology is also changing media. Traditional media, such as television and newspapers, are centrally produced by media professionals. We eavesdrop on what the professionals say.
New media such as the World Wide Web invite users to participate and interact. Users can respond to what they see, and can publish their own material. Ideas can develop within a local group, or involving people from around the world. Agreements can be formed quickly, and communicated instantly.
New media such as the World Wide Web are changing not only the way we do things, but the way we think. All the world's knowledge - and a full diversity of views - is being linked and connected online, for instant reference anywhere in the world.
Existing owners of information are centralising what they have. Many public sources are being replaced by commercial media, leading to worries about concentration of ownership. But new local initiatives are now possible, using facilities once restricted to large central bodies.
New media can rejuvenate communities, stimulating new ideas and new initiatives if applied in the right way. The Cambridge Online City project is exploring the best ways to do this.
This seminar opened the discussion on the issues raised for Cambridge, which would be followed through in a later Inquiry, Technology & the City
The following were among the issues raised by the group in discussion:
Practical measures that could be taken by the City Council include:
These changes raise the question What does local government do? in the new environment that is emerging. Central government is changing its role; there is a need for a local view, based on real experience of the issues.
Mediation Technology provides practical advice and assistance in the development and use of digital technology and digital media, building on some twenty years' experience of working with some of the world's leading organisations, from the BBC to Telecom Australia.
Mediation Technology is actively involved in the Cambridge Online City project.