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Title: Designing sustainable community interfaces
Authors: Nicholson, Stuart
Issue Date: 2022
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: This thesis explores the role of systems and processes to support inter-community communication and relations between communities and public service institutions. I explore two contexts, rural and urban, and the potential of technical systems to support communities organise, but also support better understanding and dialogues between services providers and beneficiaries. This potential depends on the contextual barriers and opportunities and the willingness of stakeholders to adopt systems and processes that inevitably effects change in day-to-day organisational cultures. Drawing from two longitudinal case studies in the NorthEast of England, I describe the requirements of these systems to be used effectively and sustainably by communities and public service institutions. The first case study developed with rural communities of Wooler and Rothbury where, over the course of three years, a communityrun pervasive display network was designed and deployed to bolster intra-community communication. I describe the development of a partnership with Glendale Gateway Trust and the design and deployment of simple hardware and bespoke software packaged alongside a suggested approach for its administration and governance. The study explores the implications of incorporating a governance model with particular focus on how this impacts ownership, moderation and maintenance as part of sustaining technical systems between self-organised configurations of communities. The second case study, developed with Northumbria Police’s Neighbourhood Policing team, involved the iterative design, implementation and evaluation of an approach to support police officers communicate more effectively with local communities and better understand local issues. The intervention aimed to strengthen communityinstitutional relations; it included training neighbourhood police officers in alternative modes of community engagement and ways to configure technical processes for public institutions’ specific needs and challenges. Learning from these two case studies is synthesized in a discussion of the different ways technical systems and processes can be designed and configured to meet stakeholders’ needs and organisational cultures; and to embody important values such as sustainability, scalability, moderation, governance and ownership.
Description: Ph. D. Thesis.
Appears in Collections:School of Computing

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