Neighborhood Planning of Technology: Physical Meets Digital City from the Bottom-Up with Aging Payphones

Benjamin Stokes, François Bar, Karl Baumann, Ben Caldwell

Abstract


What does it mean to “plan” a technology?  Designs with a footprint in public space are important hybrids, including wired bus stops and rebuilt payphones.  Our goal is to shift from designing technology for a neighborhood by planning technology as part of the neighborhood.  Aging phone booths were purchased in LA’s historic Leimert Park.  For six months, residents joined with technologists to tackle a planning issue (gentrification).  We developed a method of “deep engagement” to sustain grassroots planning in socio-technical systems, especially around the digital divide.  The method resists “solving” the payphone problem, and instead theorizes engagement as four social scaffolds to bring technology literacy into the planning process.

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The Journal of Community Informatics. ISSN: 1712-4441