Working Through the Community
This is Randal Pinkett. My background is in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science/Business Administration. I am a Ph.D. candidate at the MIT Media Laboratory (expected August 2001) and the Director of Community Technology for the Inner City Consulting Group of BCT Partners. My doctoral dissertation will examine the role of community technology for the purpose of community building in a low-income community. My advisor is Professor Mitchel Resnick, the co-founder of the Intel Computer Clubhouse Network, a national network of CTCs focused on youth and technology.
For my thesis, I am co-managing the Camfield Estates-MIT Creating Community Connections Project, which has the goal of establishing Camfield Estates as a model for other low-income housing developments as to how individuals, families, and a community can make use of information and communications technology to support their interests and needs. To achieve this goal, each resident at Camfield has been offered a free, state-of-the-art computer and a free, high-speed Internet connection via cable-modem (with support from W.K. Kellogg, HP, Microsoft, HUD, and many others).
We have been working with Camfield residents to map and mobilize community assets toward creating connections among residents, local associations and institutions (e.g., libraries, schools, etc.), and neighborhood businesses, as a way to leverage the aforementioned infrastructure. Just before Thanksgiving, we completed eight weeks of training for each participant at Camfield's CTC located on the premises, and we delivered the computers/Internet service just last week. Lastly, as part of the project we are also co-designing and implementing the Creating Community Connections (C3) System, a web-based system using the ASP model, that is specifically designed to promote Camfield residents as the active producers of their own community information and content.
It is a privilege to join this very important and timely discussion.