There has been a great deal of research on the effects of digital media and ICT’s on the urban condition. Similarly the impacts on social and community based structures and networks of the use of new forms of communication and interaction through technology has been studies from a range of perspectives, but with very little critique of the complex urban nature of such media. Yet ICT’s and new modes of remote communication are having, and have had significant effects on communities that are not cutting edge high urban settings but rather at regional and rural scales. These settings have different structures and patterns of inhabitation than those of highly urbanised city centres and therefore corresponding different relationships with social and economical drivers and issues. This workshop will explore the link between the use and infrastructure of digital media and social communities on regional, small-scale urban and rural settings. It will reflect on how this affects what Marsden refers to as the process as ‘communitization’ where members of the community ‘are empowered to derive their own solution strategies that comprise a variety of fundamental components and services’ (Marsden 2011). The focus will be on how to qualify and evaluate the effects of digital networks and interactions on place-based social structures such as neighbourhoods and rural nodes. It will explore the characteristics of place-based communities and the interplay between the invisible networks and material world of regional urban and rural life. To support this we will investigate appropriate qualitative methods for studying such practices, which acknowledge that difficulty with studying everyday practices and interactions in such settings.

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School of Art, Design and Architecture