UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Making the connection: a sustainable community network for British Columbia Fulton, Andrew


The goals of this thesis are to identify the objectives for creating a Sustainable Community Network (SCN) within B.C., to acknowledge the various tools available to facilitate the network, and to develop illustrative models to guide those contemplating the establishment of a network. Three primary research methods were utilized in this project: literature reviews, group discussion in a focus workshop, and individual interviews. The literature reviewed focused on the fields of collaboration, networks in both technical and social capacities, and coalitions. Four objectives are identified as motives to create a SCN: to provide exchange mechanisms, to organise the "unformalized" field, to create a community of interest, and to be a vehicle for power, influence and empowerment. The emphasis at the beginning should be on building personal relationships over creating an electronic network. Other specific products and services are identified as beneficial for the stakeholders: newsletters, conferences, inventories, facilitation, and a clearinghouse for information. Alternatives for administering the network include a network manager, an administrative body, a governing body, and an intermediary broker. This research helps define networks within the field of planning. They may act as a support system, streamline efforts through collaboration or by reducing duplication of effort, act as a forum for monitoring and assessment activities, and be a source for on-going public participation. Three conceptual models are developed representing a range of possibilities for creating the network. The models are labeled the "Fundamental Network" at the basic level, the "Coalition Network", and the "Collaborative Network" at the most complex level. The need for a SCN is reconfirmed. The network should proceed from a "human scale" and develop the capabilities of the electronic network as computer literacy and technological capacity become generally available. Finally, it is recommended that the network should proceed slowly, building on community objectives and incorporating the diverse activities possible through collaboration as experience is gained. Further research is needed to clarify the potential for networks in planning and management, to better understand the evolving place for computer technology, and to monitor the effectiveness of the networks as they are implemented.

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