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Public Goods: Using Pervasive Computing to Inspire Grassroots Activism

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3 Author(s)

Pervasive computing technology enables social mapping and sharing of local knowledge to create relationships beyond established social and cultural boundaries; it also enables the development of new practices around place, identity, and community. For more than a decade, the authors have explored the potential costs and benefits of using pervasive computing to facilitate codiscovery with communities across London, with the aim of supporting grassroots activities that help urban communities take action toward environmental sustainability. A core ingredient of these explorations is the making of artifacts to provide both the focus for communal experiences and a way to create public goods--that is, tangible representations of the intangible things we value most about our communities. Specific projects explore alternative material representations of stories, skills, games, songs, techniques, memories, hyper-local lore, and experiential knowledge of the environment. In this article, the authors present work that investigates how public goods can provide the focus for the development of grassroots community groups focused on hyper-local concerns. They also show how creating objects constructed to communicate the activist message of these communities in a tangible manner provides more affective and illustrative ways to facilitate the codiscovery of uncommon insights. This article is part of a special issue on pervasive analytics and citizen science.

Published in:

Pervasive Computing, IEEE  (Volume:13 ,  Issue: 2 )