Analysing Urban Community Informatics from a Resilience Perspective

Richard Heeks, Angelica V. Ospina

Abstract


The concept of resilience – the capacity to cope with, adjust to and potentially transform amid change and uncertainty – is of increasing interest and activity within community development.  It therefore presents a new lens that may be used to understand and guide community informatics.  Yet resilience is a concept that has often been well-understood but poorly-applied or, when applied, has been poorly-understood.  The purpose of this paper is therefore to develop a well-conceptualised model of resilience that can be applied in both community informatics research and practice.  The model presented here sees communities as systems and resilience as a set of foundational and enabling system sub-properties.  It is used as the basis for analysing ICT interventions in urban communities; showing how ICTs largely strengthen community resilience but may also weaken some aspects.  The paper demonstrates the viability of the developed resilience model to both understand and evaluate community informatics interventions, and it argues that this provides a broader and deeper understanding of those interventions than other perspectives can offer.  Further practical application of the model is, however, required.

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The Journal of Community Informatics. ISSN: 1712-4441