Monday, March 30: Anthropology of Networks, Part II: Community Engagement and Hands-On Learning: TBD

Note: We’re still working out the details and finalizing the schedule for these activities. We’ll post final and complete details to the website before spring break.

The goal of this active and engaged part of the semester is to help you move forward with your final project ideas. Visits to community network leaders in their local contexts will allow us to take what we’ve learned all semester about the social potential and nature of network infrastructure and use it to think about how network infrastructure concretely affects people and neighborhoods. We will hold conversations with our local hosts to talk about their experiences of building healthy digital communities in NYC, and to strategize about how NYC’s new dynamic planning document could best be used to bring about digital equity in every neighborhood across the city.

We’ll also hold a hands-on workshop to check out what it’s like to build, configure and use your own network — how does going DIY change your relationship with technology and networking? Can we imagine a process that might similarly change the dynamic of “master planning” to follow the lead community-led, grassroots organizing processes?

We’ll update the reading list later, but If you are curious, to prepare for this part of the semester:

  • Revisit the Master Plan: NYC Mayor’s Office of the Chief Technology Officer, The Internet Master Plan (2020) [you read the Executive Summary for February 3; now, read the whole plan!].

Check out the example of how Philadelphia’s community organizers used a city franchising process to make huge gains in digital equity. Could NYC’s grassroots do something similar?

Explore the philosophy and tools of Community Technology:

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POSSIBLE AGENDAS:

Monday, March 23 // Monday, March 30 // Monday, April 6: Field Trips and Workshop — Schedule TBD

Field Trip: Silicon Harlem / COSMOS Data Center

Hosts: Bruce Lincoln, Clayton Banks, Co-Founders, Silicon Harlem

This field trip will take us to Harlem, where tech and social entrepreneurs Silicon Harlem have been building a neighborhood-based tech ecosystem for the last six years with one simple yet revolutionary goal: To transform Harlem and other urban markets into technology and innovation hubs to fully engage in the digital economy. Silicon Harlem’s latest flagship project, a collaboration among the Silicon Harlem, The City of New York, and Rutgers and Columbia Universities, is the Harlem-based next-generation wireless testbed COSMOS. With this project, Silicon Harlem is modeling the potentials for equitable smart-city development.

Agenda: This visit to Harlem will allow us to check out the COSMOS 5G infrastructure and also to have a conversation with neighborhood stakeholders about what neighborhood-based tech planning means for the community, and how NYC’s Internet Master Plan might support community goals and visions.

Field Trip: The POINT CDC, Hunts Point

Hosts: Yamil Lora, Free Hunts Point WiFi Network Manager, and Danny Peralta, Executive Director, The POINT CDC

This field trip will introduce us to a neighborhood community organization in the South Bronx that has been building resiliency and community through the arts for 25 years — and four years ago, started training Digital Stewards to build local WiFi. Now The POINT has a green roof with antennas beaming WiFi out to the community, and they’re using their network to prepare the neighborhood — an environmental justice community — for future storms like Sandy as well as to monitor air quality.

Workshop: Build Our Own Network

Guests: Raul Enriquez, Community Tech NY; and Vasilis Chryssos, Co-Founder, Santaporo.gr

This class will be a hands-on workshop. Raul Enriquez will lead us through the process of building and configuring our own Portable Network Kit. To wrap up, we’ll have a Skype conversation with Vasilis Chryssos about how getting hands-on with community networking has made a difference for Santaporo.gr member communities in rural Greece.

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