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partnerships:stories:story07

Artur Serra and European Community Networking

Here's an introduction done in January 99 by Artur for Partnerships on Line.

  • My name is Artur Serra (born in 1954). I'm working as a coordinator of the Center for Internet Applications at the Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya in Barcelona. I'm Ph.D. in anthropology, having developped a two year fieldwork at CMU studying his computer campus. (See “CMU as design culture, 1992). Our centre is working mostly in European projects in the area of Internet applications. In 1993, Leandro Navarro and his team started Pangea, the first Spanish national host of APC, an international network focused on giving telematic services to the NGOs.
  • Since 1994 we are working in community networking, as a natural evolution of our field. We started in this area with the help of Jose Luis Pardos and Kyla Huckerby from National Capital Freenet in Ottawa. In october 1995, Manel Sanroma and his team created TINET,the first Spanish community network in Tarragona, a city 100km south Barcelona. ( In january 1996, we organized a first conference about Internet and the Mediterranean, called InterMed, where we met Fiorella de Cindio and we shared a common interest in community networking, especially in the Southern Europe and Med area. We set up BCNet in April 24th, 1996. This is a volontier organitzacion with 150 participants, supported technically by the UPC and our team. Our main goal is not to give access but to give support, orientation, technical assistance, training, to different people in the neigborhoods interested in community networking. Our main success has been in supporting neighborhood community networks. At the moment (january 99) thera are four: Nou Barris, , Nou Barris Net, a local community net. , a working class area in Nord Barcelona; RavalNet, in the poorest area of downtown, Xarxa 3 in Sants-Montjuic, the neiborhood with most associative tradition in the city, and GraciaNet, in the ville of Gracia.
  • We try to keep a collaborative atmosphere with our City Hall, who belongs to the Telecities network .This is not an easy job.:-) The main strategy of the local government is doing a lot of information to the citizen, even to allow them to make some official paperwork from home. Now they are starting to giving computers and Internet access to the volontary organizations in their area of influence. At the same time we are working with the Generalitat and his Strategic Plan for the Information Society. Just in 1999 we are working with the City of Terrassa organizing an Strategic Plan including community networking as a key institution of the city. Catalonia is the Spanish region with a more lively community network movement. The bigger community net in Spain is TINET is a 8.000 user community network, started by a local Agency called FUT, Fundació Universitaria de Tarragona. Other community efforts are mushroming in Catalonia. Vallesnet, Mataro On Line, Callus, CornellaNet,… In other Spanish autonomous communities, like Comunitat Valenciana, some projects with a civic focus are developping also. Infoville is a project of Digital City Hall is Villena, a local town in Alicante. In setember 1998, in Cuenca, we celebrated the First Spanish Community Networking conference, organized by Andres Dochao director of the EPITELIO project, an European telematics project that has been instrumental in launching this conference.
  • In the framework of EPITELIO, BCNet and the Rete Civiche de Milano organized the two first European conferences on community networking, in 97 (Milano) and 98 (Barcelona). As a result of that we started the European Association for Community Networking.(here you have a nice picture of the first meeting). In Barcelona for the first time, we invite community networking leaders from all over the world: Garth Graham and Gary Shearman from Telecommunities Canada, Amy Borgstom and Doug Shuler from the US AFCN, Ken Young from Australian Victoria Community Network, Izumi Aizu from Japan, Susana Finquelievich from Argentina, Natasha Bulashova from Friends and Partners in Russia, Steven Clift from Publicus Net, and others. We understand that community networking is at the same time an interesting new research area.. In one hand, in order to deep the understanding of the field we organized in the ECSCW conference in Lancaster Sept 7th, a first workshop on:”Community Networks: Opening a new research field for cooperative work“.
  • Plans for the future? : Organizing the first global conference on Community Networks in the 2000!!!

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partnerships/stories/story07.txt · Last modified: 2017/06/12 15:20 (external edit)