My paper, Local Communities and Socialized Citizens: The Role of Social Networks in Sustainable Urban Development, offers a conceptual framework for a distributed social networking application for CSOs, where engaged publics can address issues specific to their communities while contributing to a more comprehensive and timely global reporting structure. The goal is to show that a distributed model of communication can help to increase the impact of local organizations, while inspiring new ways to distribute resources, manage infrastructure and nurture local economies.
Urban resilience is now a top concern for the social sector, where data and cross-sector partnerships are key. In lieu of a comprehensive interoperable system for civic engagement, based on their broad appeal, mainstream social networks would seem ideal. But issues around transparency and ownership make centralized services problematic for civic participation. Research shows that, while emerging technologies can help drive sustainable urban growth, centralized communication is prone to failure.
Through positing a community-based system for organizations and individuals that includes cross-sector partnerships, this discussion highlights the potential for an interoperable and widely adopted distributed social networking solution for local communities, where economic development and social agency are both central. The role of metanetworks in implementing this solution is also considered.