Reconfiguring community networks: The case of PrairieKNOW

Noshir Contractor, Ann Peterson Bishop

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

14 Scopus citations


The advent of the Web has renewed interest in the use of information and communication technologies to support not only virtual communities but also traditional communities. This paper observes that the majority of successful applications to date tend to use technologies to substitute for and/or enlarge existing community interactions and transactions. We argue that this trend, unfortunately, deepens the digital divide between those who have social and knowledge capital and those who don’t. In order to improve the conditions of low-income residents, there is a need to deploy tools that help to reconfigure rather than simply substitute or enlarge existing community interactions. This paper describes the methodology of asset mapping and the development and deployment of a tool called PrairieKNOW (Prairie Knowledge Networks On the Web) in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois’ Prairienet community network. While Champaign-Urbana was ranked by Newsweek magazine as one of the ten most wired cities in the world, it also has a substantial low-income population that has traditionally been under-represented in their use of Prairienet.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationDigital Cities - Technologies, Experiences, and Future Perspectives
EditorsToru Ishida, Katherine Isbister
PublisherSpringer Verlag
Number of pages14
ISBN (Print)9783540672654
StatePublished - 2000
Event1st Kyoto Workshop on Digital Cities, 1999 - Kyoto, Japan
Duration: Sep 1 1999Sep 1 1999

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
Volume1765 LNCS
ISSN (Print)0302-9743
ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349


Other1st Kyoto Workshop on Digital Cities, 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • Computer Science(all)


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