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Hyper-local technologies (PhD project)

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Somehow, when developing a new technology, software application and service being connected to the internet and using network technology is taken for granted. The ethos is connectivity and the ability to access everything from anywhere is the hallmark of novel technology and services, recently expressed in the notion of the Internet of Things. Now that we all are online, surely the Things around us should as well. But is this given and implicit design feature of global network connectivity such a good idea? Why do the local area network merely serve as a proxy to the internet for our countless personal devices? or more importantly, why does it seem like a good idea to give equal access to your smart fridge, inbox, digital storage and online social world regardless if the IP address is from your dorm, company, city, Brazil or China; NSA, Google or Lulzsec?

Under the title Hyper-local Technologies, this PhD project examines how localised technologies support in-situ community practices, collaboration and place making. As many of us participate in multiple communities anchored around a geographical place and a shared practice, how technology represent, mediate and support these local communities and their specificities become increasingly important. The PhD project poses the following research questions:

· What role does technology play in communities of place?

· How can localised technology, e.g. local area networks, services, infrastructure and data, support communities of place and local participation?

· How does local participation, ownership and development implicate technology development?