Case Study

Examples of Communities Online

The following is a broad sampling of some of the different communities online today. These communities, as well as many others, can be found at the Community Connector. Here they are divided into several categories which exemplify the many extant types.

Community Development Focus:

Pikes Peak Network, Colorado Springs, CO: "Produced by community members of the Pikes Peak Region, it is a community information infrastructure designed to facilitate systematic, long-term regional improvement by beginning to build our community's strategic information system."

Capital Region Information Service of New York (CRISNY), upstate New York: "CRISNY's . . . mission is to help the entire community achieve the benefits of new information and network technologies regardless of education, technical proficiency or income. To fulfill its mission it offers special services, including free or low-cost accounts, to local governments, schools, colleges, universities, and other not-for-profit organizations. CRISNY is supported by a combination of modest fees to individuals, market rate fees to commercial users, and revenues from other services, such as Web pages."

Sunflower Community Network, Kansas City, MO: "to provide the Kansas City community with network access at a rate that makes access possible for those that may not otherwise be able to afford it. It is people we are trying to connect to the community, so that we may all be more involved and educated, therefore making us all better citizens of the community."

Sausalito.Net, Sausalito, CA: "is an Internet based virtual community network organized to create an environment that engages the residents, businesses and government agencies of Sausalito. Our goal is to provide interaction among community members who share common interests, relationships, fantasies, as well as to members who seek to buy and sell products, services or information. Sausalito.Net is an exciting trading and informational marketplace; it enables low cost interactive multimedia communications and trade within the local community and within the greater global electronic community."

Technical Focus:
Medicine Hat Community Network, Alberta, Canada: "Our purpose is to help our community jump onto the Internet as well as providing an online resource for residents. This site is also intended to provide the world with a summary of Medicine Hat and surrounding area."

Lariat Community Network, Laramie, Wyoming: "a non-profit community service organization whose purpose is to teach, promote, and facilitate the use of the Internet. We serve as a "users' group" for the Internet, and help our members (which consist of local residents and businesses) get online and use the Internet effectively."

Common Cause/Social Cause:
Common Cause (formerly the Christian Community Network): "To help Christians safely and effectively use the Web, and offer the best information, resources, products, services, and, yes - interaction with other Christians - across the breadth of our lives in ways that enhance our daily spiritual walk."

Thai People Community Network: "The gateway for all international people to Thai people community in the world and vice versa."

Women's Online Community Network : "Consider this your business home on the web. Here you will be able to advertise your business, chat with other women in business and find business resources and tools you need."

HIV InSite (AIDS Community Network): "HIV InSite is a project of the University of California, San Francisco AIDS Program at San Francisco General Hospital and the UCSF Center for AIDS Prevention Studies which are programs of the UCSF AIDS Research Institute. HIV InSite is designed as a gateway to in-depth information about particular aspects of HIV/AIDS."

Mixed Focus:
The Forks, Albion, MI: "The Forks Initiative is a community-wide project that provides local access to electronic information in the greater Albion community. Its mission is to research, develop and implement information technologies that help build a stronger community."

The Urban Cross: "The Community Network for the Urban Christian community on the web."

Political/Social Issues:
Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility: CPSR is a public-interest alliance of computer scientists and others concerned about the impact of computer technology on society. As technical experts, CPSR members provide the public and policymakers with realistic assessments of the power, promise, and limitations of computer technology. As concerned citizens, we direct public attention to critical choices concerning the applications of computing and how those choices affect society.

Food Not Bombs, Eugene OR: "Food Not Bombs is a non-profit, all volunteer, non-exclusive, vegetarian, free food action organization which focuses primarily on free food distribution, education and empowerment of our local community."

Commercial For-Profit:
Digital City (National U.S. Network): "the nation's largest locally focused online network, delivering locally relevant news, community resources, entertainment and commerce to 50 cities and growing. Digital City is the AOL and Web interactive guide to helping people get the most out of their online communities."

Sidewalk: "Sidewalk is a tool for making decisions in your daily life: where to go, what to buy, what to do -- all near you. Whether you're looking for businesses, services, products or activities, Sidewalk can help. Sidewalk offers information and advice on a wide variety of products and services. We . . . help you plan and make decisions. Let Sidewalk help you plan the evening. you can save useful pages, business listings or searches for businesses or products. Sidewalk offers comprehensive, high-quality local editions with thousands of local event listings and restaurant reviews, city guides for residents and visitors, local getaways and much more."