3 work emerge, the
proposers envisage re-contracting (with Esprit or other Commission
programmes) to advance work on individual modules -- particularly
anticipating synergy with other I3 projects and project groups
through I3-NET -- and also to re-channel research/development
of other modules to more appropriate developers -- an expedient strategy
in this rapidly advancing area. One of the immediate research goals is
identification of further development potentials.
It is expected that the application of results from this research could
later be extended throughout the European region and globally. Ideally
the 'final' module interfaces would be standardized so that third party
innovations can be subsequently developed and used as 'plug-ins' (add-ons
The Schema 'Connected Community' provides a comprehensive and inspiring
framework for the elaboration of research investigations. In addition,
the I3 programme, particularly its philosophy and objectives,
appears to offer fertile ground for imaginative and genuinely collaborative
project work concerning themes of substantial research interest for the
Partners. This perceived resonance in research sympathies has attracted
the consortium to make its submission and is an important component of
the 'real-life' context against which this proposal has been conceived.
Definition of Community:
The modules in the suite are overlapping and interrelated; all have
direct practical relevance to full-featured and complex local geographical
communities in Europe, subject to erosion of quality of community life.
However, certain techniques are more easily and rigorously investigated
in simplified, rudimentary or transitory communities. The proposal, therefore,
extends the definition of 'geographical community' to include other spatially-delineated
environments such as: bus stops and airport lounges, multi-session conference
venues, office complexes, village administrations, town councils, and other
thematic or intentional communities, including refugee camps, hospitals,
special care homes, and prisons.
A. Context theme: Territory as interface
In treating the territory as interface, the proposal is specifically
concerned with the following geographical communities:
Real meeting, living and working environments will provide 'laboratory'
situations for rapid testing of a number of the community process techniques
in this proposal, as will pre-existing and proto-groups whose activities
in a common geographic territory can be readily augmented withvirtual environments
(EcoTeams, Eco-villages, LETS communities and their networks). Well-resourced
technical environments, such as conference centres and prisons, may prove
to be especially valuable for testing purposes. An ultimate test is seen
as ensuring the relevance of the techniques under investigation for catalyzing
'instant community', such as may be tested in time-constrained waiting
environments (characterized by disconnected clusters of people) and emergency
situations which are both chaotic and erosive of any sense of quality of
life. Some such communities are especially enthusiastic about exploring
tools which will enable them to counteract community fragmentation.
neighbourhood, village and small town communities;
intentional communities, specifically those oriented to sustainable development
and notably eco-villages, EcoTeams and LETS communities;
community centres and office complexes (notably in the case of voluntary
potential ad hoc communities (waiting rooms, hotels, holiday resorts,
conference centres, public transport vehicles);
refugee camps, especially those involving longer-term occupation;
shelters for the homeless or vulnerable;
short- and long-stay homes for the sick, disabled, elderly, criminal etc.
Module 1 (M1): Crowd-to-community transformation: There are many
instances where people find themselves gathered, by choice or by force
of circumstances, and remain each in an alienated condition. Examples are
an airport lounge during long delays, a large conference in which no interaction
facilities have been envisaged outside formal arrangements (analogously
a hotel lobby, passenger ship or train carriage), or public spaces like
a town square, shopping mall or the grounds of a school when a pattern
of mutual interaction has not developed or has declined.
The challenge is to design immediately operational software to facilitate
worthwhile patterns of interaction. As facilities offering a competitive
advantage to sponsors, these could be available as piggy-back options on
local networks installed for other purposes (eg info systems in shopping
malls, public transport ticketing systems, bank terminals, cafe video games
etc), or on notebook computers or 'organizers' carried by some people present.
The vision is to enable people to input profile information (possibly via
smart cards) and to indicate fruitful communication clusters and interactions
in a form that evokes participation. Creative ideas on which to base such
systems would be sought inter alia through the British and Swedish
Institutes for Social Inventions.
One concept is that airline companies would hold information about their
passengers (as they now do for food preferences of their frequent fliers).
People who so choose could interact with the database, adding additional
information about themselves (possibly via smart cards). Side tables in
waiting lounges might offer touchscreens (also touchscreens in seatbacks
of planes) or 'piggy-back' use might be made of multi-media information
kiosks. In planes with passenger telephones, calls might be scheduled between
passengers on request.
Another concept is that clients could submit profiles to telephone companies,
for calls to be scheduled to others in their local geographical region
whose profile 'matched' their requests. On the basis of such conversations
meetings might be initiated, with the intention of enriching the pattern
of real-life community activity. This outcome has much in common with M5
'Networked face-to-face meetings' and with certain of the objectives
of M4 'Community database content integration'.
Module 2: Territory as the map : A technique potentially supportive
of 'crowd to community transformation' envisages the geographical territory
itself, and in its entirety, as a form of direct spatial interface providing
a mnemonically significant map for the interactions of community members.
Such a technique, if appropriately translated and visualized, should be
readily comprehensible in traditional rural communities where local lore
still carries meaning. It would take as its objective the design of a common
reality-based virtual framework, comprehensible tolong-term inhabitant
and visitor alike. As an extension of this initiative, features of the
community environment could also be treated as mnemonic triggers to embed
and hold understanding of complex community relationships, relying on the
practice and theory of metaphor -- reinforced by local symbols and lore.
This information, whether in text, visual or audio form, could be built
into a database capturing insights about community relationships. These
would be meaningfully 'mapped' onto the common geographic territory, using
landforms, landmarks, routes, personalities and other local characteristics.
Ground-location satellite technology could have a role in this concept.
A potential overlap here is with M15 'Refugee camp satellite
link'. Records in the database could be linked to patterns of traditional
tales valued as illustrating wisdom on local community dynamics, overlapping
with investigations for M3 and M4 'Community as database'
and M17 'Ecology-based role metaphors for community participation'
B. Context theme: Community as database
Module 3: Sustainable community database facility: Software and
hardware are available to serve as community archive, reference library
and statistical repository, and to capture data, insights and lore of local
people (including photos, sketches, sound clips and maps -- linking here
with M2 'Territory is the map'). Such content can already
be organized and indexed at the time it is input (eg via database software
such as Folio Views, FirstClass or FoxPro). However,
mindful of the underlying I3 philosophy, a sensitive interface
is required (possibly multilingual in a European context). This would facilitate
real-life links between the people and information: actively engaging them
in the database creation and evolution, feeling it to be a 'living' part
of their community, augmenting their own knowledge capabilities and supporting
their daily lives.
This module would address the specific research and design issues for
interactive databases for community sustainability: environmental systems
and status, ecological actions and results, local economic systems, ideas
banks and wisdom banks etc. which would be usable by communities involved
with Local Agenda 21, GAP's Community lifestyle programmes, LETs communities,
intentional eco-villages etc.
The choice of sustainable community as the subject for detailed database
development is for two reasons:
Regarding the relationship of this module to other existing and proposed
EU-funded work, two GAP national organizations are currently undertaking
EU-supported work (DG XXIV) within their countries -- GAP Flanders is applying
the Household EcoTeam Programme to community campaigns and GAP Ireland
is working on a children's programme. Generally, there is a significant
amount of compatible work being undertaken in the European communities
to which the Partner group has direct access.
Creative potentials - the presence of ecologically-sensitive data
is likely to strengthen the systems and holistic aspects of the interface
Relevance - the product will directly respond to the participation
needs of the broad population and communities as espoused in Agenda 21
and its complementary regional agendas in Europe (such as the Environmental
Programme for Europe (EPE) [1995, UNECE/CEP/25, as submitted to the
Ministerial Conference Environment for Europe, Sofia October 1995]).
Module 4: Community database content integration: Complementing
M3 above, this module focuses on how the database material
could be fruitfully supplemented by representation of whatmight be termed
'higher order' community processes. There is inherent merit in free input
and exploration, based on keywords and topic menus, but there is also a
further level of challenge. This lies in the ways information flows are
used as carriers to evoke more integrative orderings, capable of reinforcing
the sense of community identity and the significance of membership in that
In the territorial contexts envisaged, especially for facilitating 'instant
community' (M1 'Crowd-to-community transformation'), the
challenge is to find ways for potential participants to enter extended
personal profiles and stories into a shared database. Individuals could,
for example, build up and maintain a personal (or group) profile (on disk,
smartcard or downloadable from a website) that could be integrated where
needed into such a database (eg in an airport waiting room using airline
telecommunications systems). In this way the potential for community formation
could be graphically displayed. Questions to be explored include:
the kind of information that most appropriately catalyzes, or inhibits,
how the information can be presented most appropriately;
the forms of abuse to which it may lend itself if safeguards are not built
in from the start, or definable by potential participants (riddles etc).
This module would be especially valuable in times of collective crisis
(emergencies, strikes, civil strife, refugee camps, etc) when rapid coalition
formation may even make the difference between life and death.
C. Context theme: Computer-supported real-life
Module 5: Micro-community facilitation: Computers are widely
used for match-making, whether for friendships or employment. Recognizing
the isolation experienced by many in urban environments, this module takes
the rationale of these techniques a step further, whilst also addressing
some of their limitations.
This module explores the possibility of using computer and/or tele-networks
to hold and match profiles within a relatively large pool of people in
the same geographic location. On request, or when good matches emerge,
a multiplicity of small-group meetings are continually enabled by computer
to explore the significance of the profile-based match. People may choose
to continue meeting (face-to-face or otherwise) without computer prompting.
Additionally they may refine and resubmit their profiles, possibly based
on the specific exclusion or inclusion of people of the type clustered
at the last such gathering (profiling 'by example'). This Module also supports
M4 'Community database content integration'.
Refinements in the profiling would also allow people to pursue various
optimization strategies, individually or together with named individuals.
They could, for example, explore particular kinds of dialogue maturation,
subject matter, or activities (for example EcoTeams). The approach could
also be extended to meta-communities and community networks using representatives
of community groups. Cultural barriers might be spanned by facilitating
dialogues between individuals and groups in twin towns, or across the socio-economic
divides of large cities. Enabling prisoners to build a qualitatively richer
sense of community through such techniques may contribute significantly
to their rehabilitation.
The relative unsophistication of profiling techniques could be an issue.
A specific challenge is to develop more accurate and subtle algorithms,
particularly which can hold contradictory profile elements and cross-cultural
boundaries. The issues are related to creative counterpoint rather than
matching preferences. The starting inquiry might address what it would
take to create viableencounters across stereotypes in larger communities.
This work would also be relevant to M1 'Crowd-to-Community'.
Module 6: Commitment database and relationship contracts:
Many community projects 'crash' catastrophically because inter-personal
boundaries were unclear or based on wishful thinking. This module would
develop an interactive database enabling those people establishing collaborative
relationships to articulate informal and semi-formal contracts with each
This initiative would confront people with the issues relating to bilateral
and multilateral undertakings, their content, boundaries and limitations
-- minimally to enable them to have a checklist of things to worry about,
or additionally to have model clauses for a friendly or semi-formal contract
to clarify their relationships under a variety of circumstances. The facility
would allow modifications to suit the participants in any particular configuration
and over time (possibly building understanding of the operation of a type
of 'catastrophe theory for personal relationships'). The software should
also assist people in recognizing potential relationship difficulties and
how they may be guarded against. This Module also supports M4
'Community database content integration' and M7 'Meeting
Module 7: Meeting participant contracts: Meetings are organized
and attended on the assumption that participants operate out of similar
mind-sets and meeting behaviour patterns; also that an agenda means the
same to all participants. Lack of clarity on such matters wastes meeting
time and antagonizes both those who behave insensitively (who may feel
they are not appropriately heard) and those with considerable meeting skills
(who may feel unable to move discussions to a more fruitful level). Participants
may also feel manipulated by organizers through lack of clarity on the
dynamics of the meeting.
This initiative would develop a database of clauses enabling participants
and/or organizers to assemble semi-formal contracts prior to an event.
The focus would be a form of 'social contract' between participants and
with the organizers that would foresee a variety of circumstances.
Module 8: Participant messaging in conferences: The physical
layout of conference halls (podium, seating, etc) and conventional conference
processes (pre-defined programme, key speakers, panels, etc) inhibit unscheduled
communication amongst attendees. 'Multi-tasking' by participants, especially
in parallel with the scheduled processes, is frequently perceived as undermining
the declared purpose of the gathering. Many participants are consequently
organized into passivity, unproductivity, isolation and boredom.
The UIA has experimented with use of computer technology to provide
messaging between participants in parallel with conventional sessions.
At the simplest level, enhanced communication be achieved using text processing
and copying, based on manual collection and dissemination of groups of
messages. Depending on availability and resources, such facilities can
be extended to scheduling face-to-face encounters in small groups (see
M5 'Micro-community exploration'). Also of interest are the
ways in which groupware can be used through networked notebooks in meeting
complexes with parallel sessions (see M9 below).
The particular practical challenge at such events is to find ways to
mix levels of technology, access and skills, according to the resources
assembled, often spontaneously. Specifically, how can participants 'hit
the ground running' and 'hook into a shared space' when arriving at such
a meeting. In a European, multi-cultural setting, the challenge of language
and communication style also merits careful attention.
Module 9: Wired (or wireless) face-to-face meetings: As an extension
of M8 'Participant Messaging' and where formal meeting processes
permit, this module is concerned with groupware run on local area networks
in meetings. It envisages notebook-equipped participants communicating
in support of the basic 'non-computer-supported' meeting processes. A pertinent
setting might be a town or regional council meeting, although the relevance
to enhanced effectiveness of the community of parliamentarians in national
assemblies is also recognized.
The aim is to optimize insight capture (even from the most marginalized),
through better clarifying meeting options, configuring topics, feedback,
sifting and filtering (to avoid 'spamming' and overload of key participants).
Decision-making processes should be facilitated. The major concern is to
ensure that infrastructure questions are streamlined in order to highlight
higher order communication issues (normally obscured) that merit attention
through new software developments. It is expected that these will increasingly
be addressed by imaginative plug-in modules.
Module 10: Meeting commentary tracks: This module considers the
possibility of commentary on a meeting process (of new groupware potentials
M9 'Networked meetings' or the interpretation channels in
multilingual conference centres). Can community processes be facilitated
and enhanced by commentary tracks to which participants can optionally
choose to "lend an ear" whilst listening to discussion? Such running commentary
could range from insights into the politics of the event, cross-cultural
challenges of the communication processes, educational explanation for
the less specialized, psychological explanations as to why some things
are (not) being said, suggestions by representatives of vested interests
reinforcing particular patterns of intervention, to humour and friendly
encouragement appropriate in any community setting.
Module 11: Meeting and interaction discipline: Face-to-face meeting
and community processes continue to be unproductively dominated by the
few (the powerful, the eminent, the old) whose interventions it has proved
difficult to curtail. Such phenomena limit full participation and alienate
potential participants, especially the young, thus leading directly to
community fragmentation. In response to this, the module envisages two
The two techniques are complementary and could be adapted to the simplest
computers, including pocket organizers.
A 'time economy' system, allocating trade-able 'air time' units to all
participants. Relatively simple software can be used to manage this.
A voice pattern analysis program would total the intervention time of each
participant, providing a graphic display for any part of the event, or
for the event as a whole. Suitable warnings could be selected for various
thresholds of dominance.
Module 12: Issue tracking and trajectories: Whether focused on
a particular meeting or on the longer term development of issues within
a community, this module of the proposal is concerned with possibilities
of visual tracking or mapping of topics. The question is how to move beyond
linear text flows and to configure points made by one community participant
in relation to those other interventions. The key argument is that participants
should, as the dialogue evolves, be responding increasingly to the 'community
issue map' as a whole rather than to the most recent linear text presentation
of points. The intention is to raise the level of debate and interaction.
This is a form of visual, dynamic minute-making, where computers are
used to build up and maintain 'on the fly' time-independent 'air traffic
control' maps of a dialogue, the participants associated with particular
parts of it, and their various "trajectories". Some mind-mapping software
exists for such purposes. However, it tends to be contrary to the associative
structure of many meetings. It is also not well adapted to fast-flowing
Module 13: Dialogue support: There is widespread and increasing
interest in dialogue processes, also as a research topic. This module envisages
using software to highlight and support new patterns of dialogue that may
prove more sustainable than those operating within current paradigms. Preliminary
investigations have, for example, shown the potential of music to hold,
and render comprehensible, more complex patterns of interaction. This work
could potentially support several of the modules, with particular interaction
with M4 'Community database content integration', M10
'Meeting commentary tracks', M11 'Meeting and interaction
discipline', and M14 'Configuration patterning'
Module 14: Configuration patterning, design and support: It is
useful to distinguish between:
This module attaches special importance to the second point as a higher
order process vital to the integrity of the community. Attention will be
given to the potential of graphic and design-type software as a non-verbal
language for community design. This approach may offer communities the
means of moving beyond 2-dimensional organization charts into hitherto
unsuspected structures whose integrity is inherent in a 3D structure and
whose properties cannot be adequately represented in 2D. (This could constitute
a community equivalent to the recent revolution in chemistry through the
discovery of 'buckyballs' -- the theme of a Nobel Prize in 1996). Such
software may also prove relevant to lifestyle design. This work is supportive
of M17 'Ecology-based roles' and M18 'Navigating
the interaction flows vital to community (and meeting) processes and
the emergence of interaction patterns, the design and development of community
structures, and the possibility for their computer support.
Module 15: Refugee camp satellite link: Given the increasing
numbers and permanence of people now in refugee camp situations and 'holding
centres', in Europe or using European resources, this module investigates
the possibility that a minimum resource satellite link-up can be provided
to distant computer resources from such locations (as is provided for media
Can such a link-up can be used by aid workers to facilitate community
processes within the geographical location, as with M1 and
M5? These processes could include assisting people to trace
and make contact with relatives, friends or advisers (this might involve
rapid voice input of names of relatives and children into a database).
In more permanent camps, such a link up would facilitate micro-community
formation as described in M4 'Community database content integration'.
Note that in a chaotic situation, the merit of this approach is that the
data could be stored (backed up) on another continent.
D. Context: Active participation
Module 16: Interface on community problems and initiatives: This
module is conceived as a human-centred 'front-end' for people to access
and augment collective information on community problems and solutions.
Such information can be downloaded onto local computers. The front-end
should make it easy for people to create and leave traces of information;
ensure that people can comment on, modify or add to the information; trigger
and accommodate individualized knowledge and expression. Conflicting views,
reflecting the dynamics between community members or factions, could also
It is proposed to develop a prototype of an interactive CD-ROM/Web product
based on the community-relevant entries in the databases of the Encyclopedia
of World Problems and Human Potential (UIA). The prototype would be
supplemented and tested by GEN, GAP and other community-based groups. A
similar project in the area of biodiversity conservation, also headed bythe
UIA with a different Partner group, is the subject of another EC grant
for prototype development under the INFO2000 programme (DG XIII, STM 505
Conservation); it would provide a significant informatics 'kick-start'
to this module.
Module 17: Ecology-based role metaphors of opportunities (styles)
of community participation: The idea here is to distinguish, recognize
and appreciate a wide variety of styles of community participation -- through
which the ecology of a sustainable community is formed and enriched. It
may be thought of as a geographic community 'twinning' itself to a virtual
one, with the myriad interactions between the (real) human community system
and the (virtual) eco-system informing and gradually enriching each other.
An add-on extension for communities which have built up a sophisticated
ecosystem would be the virtual equivalent of role play and psychodrama,
calling to mind the Transformation Game developed by the Findhorn
community or conflict resolution processes practised by neighbourhood dispute
consultants such as Mediation, UK.
The range of such community roles could be 'marked' by appropriate animal/plant
metaphors (simplistically equivalent to tribal totem groups) for mnemonic
reasons. The module would develop the means to hold the roles in what is
effectively a social ecology database, enabling people to understand and
explore roles and relationships that can enhance the life of the community
-- and which can contain disruptive dynamics -- through the richness of
the ecological metaphors. In effect this is the psycho-social equivalent
of permaculture as applied to community design.
Module 18: Art of navigating conceptual complexity: The focus
is providing an interface to enable people to structure and integrate information
in ways that are not dependent on hierarchical nesting and text. The question
is whether advances in mind-mapping software and clickable images can be
effectively used to facilitate cross-sectoral contacts that are more supportive
of the organic quality of evolving community. Work for this module is also
supported by many other modules, especially M2 'Territory as
the map', M12 'Issue tracking and trajectories', M17
'Ecology-based roles', M14 'Configuration Patterning'
There are research challenges common to many of the above modules. These
include the following broad groupings:
R1: Software issues (and algorithms):
R: Hardware issues:
a Profile-matching issues relevant to facilitating and sustaining community
initiatives (including encounter scheduling);
b Distribution of associative information across surfaces and images in
cognitively significant ways;
c Piggy-back issues associated with adapting use of existing packages;
d Appropriately, holding of cross-sectoral information;
e Industry standards.
R3: Database content:
a Mixing levels of technology to allow for differently-resourced participants;
b Potential of holding profile information on electronic media (smartcards,
floppies) for immediate use;
c Constraints on links (satellite, networked portables);
d Constraints on piggy-backing on systems and information devices built
and/or installed for other purposes (commercial, military, etc);
e Physical location of hardware for information exchange
f Voice pattern related issues (recognition, database storage/retrieval
in absence of text keys);
g Graphics issues.
R4: Access and input issues:
a Contract clauses;
b Symbols system significant to community processes, including stories,
c Multilingual variants, and susceptibility to automatic translation;
d Profiling techniques;
e Identification of useful content.
R5: Socio-dynamic issues
a Open, intuitive input at user-chosen levels of complexity;
b Voice input;
c Language flexibility and language constraints;
d Normative characteristics of software and interfaces, covert and explicit;
e Accommodation of social, cultural, ethical and spiritual dimensions (eg.
censorship/appropriateness, emocracy/'free-for-all', rights/responsibilities...)
f Simple access, especially in dynamic and chaotic situations.
R6: Intellectual copyright and data ownership issues:
a The dynamics of individual behaviour change;
b How behaviour change diffuses;
c How people relate to 'strangers';
d Dynamics governing behaviour shifts within existing power structures;
e Concepts of territoriality and membership;
f Human multi-processing capacity;
g Distortion of communication and behaviour patterns under stress.
R7: Timing issues:
a Common property/private property (individual, community and Web);
b Negotiating intellectual property rights;
c Negotiating development rights;
d Proprietary versus free software.
R8: Production and use issues:
a Scheduling work streams in appropriate sequence, as results emerge and
to maximize synergistic development of modules;
b Keeping aware of software and general infotech developments.
a Financing public domain interface resources;
b Identifying appropriate partners for development and production;
c Involving general public and/or specific participant groups in final
d Safeguarding against abuse;
e Providing physical, psychological and social fail-safes in the event
Table 1: 'Research Challenges -- Detailed by Module' and
Table 2: 'Research Challenges -- Overlap Between Modules'
presents the research challenges likely to be met in the first
year of investigations across the entire suite of modules (please contact
us for the Tables -- email address at top).
The proposers agree with the suggestion made in the 'Call for Proposals'
for an iterative and non-linear methodology. In this proposal, the recommended
components of: 'Understanding a local community', 'Concept generation',
'Development of prototypes' and 'Participatory evaluation' are systemically
incorporated in the procedures for developing the modules (though not under
these specific headings, as is explained below).
This proposal has objectives relating to all four themes of this schema.
For simplicity each module has been assigned to its dominant theme. However,
the actual research methodology will not follow strict thematic or modular
paths; it will begin with the more well-founded, simple or generalized
investigations common to more than one module or fundamentally necessary
for the development of a single module which is interlinked with others.
The procedure will successively integrate understandings common to two
or more modules.
Based on a solid body of prior work and existing software, the research
will investigate promising development areas. If rewarding or encouraging,
each tentative investigation will be strengthened and broadened. If results
are not readily apparent or encouraging, the investigation will withdraw
and refocus itself without great loss of resources.
An initial focus of the research is to clarify development options in
the light of existing research and technologies. This will require a back-to-back
meeting of both the Core Research Group and the Research Support Group,
as well as continuing e-mail and telephone exchanges. But mostly this work
will be typical of the early stages of development research -- researchers
investigating professional networks (formal and informal), the Internet,
computer magazines and the like. Proprietary software will be purchased,
freeware downloaded from the Web, and other promising purpose-designed
software acquired from academic and other research institutions. Certain
items will be distributed between partner organizations. The potential
of each piece of software to meet the needs of the various modules would
be assessed against a set of criteria (a preliminary listing is given below)
and prioritised for further modifications. Reports would be prepared using
a standardized report form.
A parallel set of investigations will be undertaken to endeavour to
understand the true human needs for software support for communities and
groups within the range of direct involvement of the partners and as covered
by the modules. In some cases larger consultative meetings will be scheduled,
but in most instances the members of the Core Research Group will investigate
individually or in small teams (sometimes with other staff members of their
partner organizations), collaborating with their Associate Partners and
other community constituencies. They will explore and then document the
perceived requirements of each community or group. Their own interpretations
will be added.
At the end of the first phase of the research, which may take between
3 and 6 months, the research group will meet again to discuss its findings
and plan for the next phase of work. It is not possible at this stage to
define the actual course of this phase of work. Generally and where feasible
the research during this second phase will include:
It is expected that some of the challenges may be fairly easily addressed
through the adaptation of existing technologies. Some may call for careful
specification of required algorithms in the light of compromises that may
be necessary. The strategy will exploit any opportunities for early results,
postponing other initiatives if it is clear that these can benefit from
well-resourced research being undertaken elsewhere.
summarizing the progress made on the research challenges;
matching existing interfaces with expressed human needs for support;
outlining development potentials for the various modules;
identifying modules amenable to immediate further work by the team;
locating additional resources or cooperation partners for modules, where
Development of some of the modules may prove to fall outside the province
of the research group, others may be relatively easy to implement. Research
will therefore clarify the probable time-lines and feasibility of each
module in terms of the following criteria:
Achievable with existing software or by special adaptation of it;
Low-cost, low-resource features, preferably piggy-backing on widely
used existing software and platforms, or those in development;
Using more intuitive systems of categories familiar to ordinary people
and community environments;
Effortless integration of actual and virtual realities, but grounded
in the physical and real;
Attractive to the broadest range of community members (old and young
alike across the local socio-cultural spectrum, and not just the segment
Adaptation to a range of environments with different levels of resources;
Module complementarity, notably in testing environments;
Adaptation to real-world environments for testing in a supportive (rather
than invasive or artificial) manner, such that participants will derive
early benefits, even from prototype versions.
In the light of the above work, it should prove possible to identify
opportunities for the development of one or more prototypes that would
serve to refine the subsequent task. To the extent that the budget permits,
these would be developed in the second phase of the year's work.
COMMUNICATION (Module 20)
This section describes Module 20 'Information Dissemination and Application
The consortium of research Partners will prepare research reports for
the use of themselves and the Commission on a three monthly cycle. There
will also be a final summary report at the end of the year's work.
During the course of their work, the Partners will use the I3-NET
facility, the LTR Brokerage Page and other network connections to
inform potential partners of their work (including international foundations,
commercial partners and sponsors). They will also seek contact with potential
external developers for any of the modules which have proceeded through
the feasibility stage of development but which are beyond their own resources.
Should any of the modules have advanced to demonstration level during
the course of this programme, the UIA and its consortium partners will
take advantage of any suitable European or international meetings, or other
gatherings, to demonstrate the developments.
By the conclusion of the programme's first year, it is intended that
modules with extended developmental promise will be written up as the subjects
of individual software development proposals, commercial or otherwise,
or at as least research reports or papers. The UIA routinely publishes
its research work on its Web page, in its quarterly Journal Transnational
Associations, and in other appropriate periodicals.WORK PLAN
Because this proposal covers the early stage development of 18 distinct
modules, all of which are interrelated but will show varying development
promise, it is not amenable to structuring in discrete work packages. Arguably,
the Research Challenges are more akin to conventional work packages than
the Modules (some of which are still at the conceptual level). However,
neither category comfortably fits the mold of a work package.
It is important to describe the Work Plan in a coherent manner. The
general research approach, procedures and phases are described in the Methodology
section; it remains to specify the tasks and who will undertake them. This
is done below as Module Investigation Teams, with the addition of two extra
'Modules' covering 'Project management' and 'Information dissemination
and application of results'.
The deliverables associated with each Module cannot be precisely stated
at this time. As a minimum final deliverable, there will be a final report
specifying status and potential for each module. On an intermediate basis,
there will be consolidated progress reports relevant to the entire suite
of modules, issued quarterly and sent to the Commission together with the
claims for fund reimbursements.
This is an interdisciplinary research programme involving several partners
in different geographic locations. Most of the day-to-day work will be
done by the personnel within the domain of their host organization. However,
for almost every module there is a collaborative effort. This will be effected
by frequent communication: usually email or telephone, but occasionally
requiring bilateral visits for a few days to a week at a time.
Structurally the work will be accomplished by three distinct groupings
Core Research Group:
a Core Research Group;
a Research Support Group; and
Module Investigation Teams.
The Core Research Group is comprised of senior individuals from each
Partner organisation who will take responsibility for their organizations'
overall contribution. Their CVs are in the respective attachment sections
dealing with their Partner organization. Members of the Core Research Group
will personally undertake a good deal of the research, including review
of other's work and ensuring interaction between modules. They will meet
every three months. The Core Research Group comprises:
Research Support Group:
Tim Casswell (IAPCO-ICMT)
Anthony Judge (UIA)
Declan Kennedy (GEN)
Nadia McLaren (UIA)
Marilyn Mehlmann (SISU/GAP).
The Research Support Group is of flexible composition comprising the
Core Research Group and up to five others from the Associate Partner group
or elsewhere. Its purpose is for feedback of human and community needs,
brainstorming ideas and identifying further potentials. This Group will
meet periodically during the one-year contract period (3 meetings are budgeted),
foreconomy's sake back-to-back with a Core Research Group meeting.
Module Investigation Teams:
There are 18 Module Investigation Teams. Each comprises at least one
person from the Core Research Group plus other colleagues from the principal
Partner organizations and/or an affiliated testing partner or constituency.
The Module Investigation Teams have the specific responsibility to move
forward the research on their module, or to explain why it is better to
halt its development at any point. The Module Investigation Teams and task
assignments of their members are listed below:
Module 1: Crowd-to-Community transformation
Casswell, Fleck, Judge
Module 2: Territory as the map
Judge, McLaren +/- subconsultant
Module 3: Sustainable community database facility
Fischer, Kennedy, Mehlmann, McLaren, + GAP + GEN
Module 4: Community database content integration
Kennedy, Judge +/- LETS
Module 5: Micro-community exploration
Judge, Fischer, McLaren + GAP +/- LETS groups
Module 6: Commitment database and relationship contracts
Casswell, Judge, Kennedy
Module 7: Meeting participant contracts
Casswell, Fleck, Judge
Module 8: Participant messaging in conferences
Casswell, Judge, Fischer, McLaren
Module 9: Networked face-to-face meetings
Judge, Casswell, Fischer + IAPCO-ICMT
Module 10: Meeting commentary tracks
Module 11: Meeting and interaction discipline
Casswell, Judge, McLaren
Module 12: Issue tracking and trajectories
Module 13: Dialogue Support
Casswell, Judge, McLaren
Module 14: Configuration patterning, design and support
Module 15: Refugee camp satellite link
Module 16: Feedback on community problems and initiatives
Kennedy, Judge, McLaren + GAP + GEN
Module 17: Ecology-based roles of community participation
Judge, McLaren + Lebensgarten + Findhorn
Module 18: Art of navigating conceptual complexity
Module 19: Project management
McLaren + Core Research Group
For further details see the Project Management section below.
Module 20: Information dissemination and application of results
Judge, McLaren +/- Core Research Group
For further details see the Communication section above.
PROJECT MANAGEMENT (Module 19)
Management of the project would follow normal procedures for a multi-disciplinary
project with several participants. A single agent (the project coordinator
-- UIA) will provide the formal link with the Community, being responsible
for all contractual obligations, periodic progress reporting (3-monthly),
final reporting, financial management, invoicing, work programme description
and monitoring, time sheet accounting, adherence to schedule, and other
such matters. The project coordinator will also schedule meetings of the
research team for planning and review.
The Coordinating Partner, the UIA, is well known to all the Partners.
For this project, its role may be visualized as the hub of a wheel (not
to diminish the importance of the many other cross-connections within the
Partner Group). Importantly, the UIA has a substantial stake in, and has
demonstrated long-term commitment to, the completion of the project. It
possesses a sufficient range of skills and resources to manage this project
and has the confidence and support of the other Partners.
Nadia McLaren, a consultant with considerable experience in multi-discipline
team and study management, will be the Project Manager on behalf of the
UIA and its Partners. Ms McLaren knows personally all members of the Core
Research Group. She will be supported by them (as principal agents of their
respective Partner organizations) and by the administrative staff of the
Quarterly meetings of the Core Research Group and three meetings of
the Research Support Group are anticipated during the project period. Because
it is central and the home of the Coordinating Partner, Brussels is the
probable venue for most of the meetings. The representation of the Commission
would be very welcome at these meetings.
Less formal, but as important, will be the day-to-day and week-to-week
communications betweenthe Partners. All the Partners use email communication
on a daily basis and have the capability and intention to be in contact
as frequently as is needed. An adequate budget has been allocated for frequent
communication, including person-to-person bilateral visits, and electronic
and mail services. In addition, the project coordinator will make a fortnightly
check of activities and developments (by telephone, fax or email as considered
Discussions will be held and agreements recorded in writing at any stage
of the project where issues of concern or potential conflict arise for
any of the Partners. It may be noted that all the individuals within the
project management group have, in different combinations, worked together
or been professional colleagues for a number of years. This predisposes
the partnership to a stable and responsible working relationship. In addition,
one individual within the Core Research Team (Casswell) works professionally
in areas of negotiation and conflict resolution and another (Mehlmann)
has several years of relevant training as a counsellor.
In particular, clarification will be sought (and duly recorded) at an
appropriate early stage concerning any copyright or intellectual property
rights matters which could be relevant to the eventual production and dissemination
of a product. The development Partners would also want to ensure their
rights are protected should any research development be assigned to any
other party for commercial or other development.
The project would be coordinated by the Union of International Associations
(UIA), based in Brussels since 1910
and Annex 1). This non-government, non-profit body has world-wide reputation
in the fields of documentation, research and publishing on international
organizations and their meetings and activities (more than 300 publications
and publication series). It has for many years been pushing standards in
information management and communications, notably through use of computers
since the early 1970s, and supporting editorial/research work through a
20-station LAN since 1984; in 1986 the UIA won an international award for
the most advanced application of computer techniques to typesetting. Since
1996, the Yearbook of International Associations is published also
in a multilingual CD-ROM format (including a French translation specially
funded by French-speaking governments); the Encyclopedia of World Problems
and Human Potential is also published on CD-ROM and preparations are
in place to put it on the Web.
The UIA is largely self-financed through sale of information services
and has supplemented its income with a range of consulting and development
work for clients which include UNESCO, the International Facilitating Committee
of the Global Forum (Rio Conference), the United Nations University and
the Agence de coopération culturelle et technique (ACCT). Consultative
and collaborative relations have included ECOSOC, ILO, FAO, the Council
of Europe, UNITAR, the United Nations University and the Commonwealth Science
The proposed project manager is Nadia McLaren, a senior environmental
consultant (social and ecological impact assessment, management and monitoring),
and editor of the most recent edition of the Encyclopedia of World Problems
and Human Potential. Ms McLaren will also be involved with substantive
work on several of the modules. Anthony Judge will lead the UIA's research
team. As Director of Communications and Research of the UIA, he developed
the UIA's LAN-based information system and coordinates the UIA's information
projects and research activities. He has published extensively in the fields
of information systems and knowledge organization,transformative conferencing,
metaphor, non-governmental organization and future studies. A list of papers
and projects relevant to this proposal appear in Annex 1).
The UIA will engage subconsultant expertise in the areas of programming
and application development where they are outside its own capabilities.
The organizations Antenna Foundation (Netherlands) and Map Maker Ltd (UK)
are likely to be significant providers of such services.
The Swedish Institute for Social Inventions (SISU) is a private
foundation with a number of open activities (including annual prizes for
social inventors, inventors' days and occasional courses) and a few projects.
The projects concern social inventions which SISU is helping to establish
in concrete form. There is extensive collaboration with organizations throughout
Europe and elsewhere. Marilyn Mehlamnn, Director of SISU, is actively involved
with research in social, cultural and community areas.
Major recent projects of SISU are:
New projects are:
GAP Sweden -- which is infusing into Sweden an international programme
directed at modifying the lifestyle of the western world in a more sustainable
direction. GAP became a foundation of its own in January 1995.
Life Skills in School -- a project to help schools help pupils acquire
constructive life skills (defined as positive self-image and an active
image of the future).
Sustainable Housing for St Petersburg -- aimed at helping the NW region
of Russia to produce ecologically sound building materials and train people
to build their own (reasonably sustainable) homes in groups/new communities.
The Global Ecovillage Network (GEN) is an evolving network of eco-village
projects around the globe, with its coordinating secretariat in the Gaia
Villages offices of Gaia Trust, Denmark (http://www.gaia.org). Members
of GEN are eco-villages, community associations, organizations and individuals.
In 1996, GEN was formally incorporated as an association of autonomous
regional networks and is registered as a nonprofit organization in Denmark.
IT as a means to convert social inventions into jobs.
Participatory methods for Agenda 21.
Research into social diffusion and the stability of behavioural change.
FIA (Futures Inventions Associates) is introducing into Sweden methods
developed by Warren Siegler in the USA for 'enspirited envisioning'.
A database of social inventions (in collaboration with several similar
organizations around Europe).
The secretariat for GEN Europe currently resides at Lebensgarten (Steyerberg,
Germany) and is coordinated by Prof Declan Kennedy, President of GEN).
Professor Kennedy is an architect who has specialized in ecological design
and planning. He currently teaches permaculture and eco-village design,
consults on urban regeneration, community processes and local economic
and employment systems, and has authored numerous publications on these
subjects. Professor Kennedy would be supported in his research by Matina
An important part of GEN's strategy is the promotion of sustainable
technologies and businesses. It has identified three key criteria in assessing
appropriate technologies for eco-villages:
As is stated in GEN's brochure: 'An important eco-village issue is how
to make technology ecologically, socially and spiritually responsive to
human needs ... A closely related issues is the creation of jobs in eco-villages.
Technology tends to determine the structure and organisation of society.
Contemporary society's technology promotes unlivable megacities, separation
of work and home, institutionalisation of family support functions ...
in a centralised hierarchical structure.' Reversing these tendencies is
part of the GEN vision and why GEN it is particularly enthusiastic and
well-positioned to provide research capability and testing platforms for
several of the modules in this proposal.
Human scale, decentralised production;
Support for a non-stressful, mediative life style.
Global Action Plan for the Earth International (GAP) is associated
with the project team as a project of SISU (and is currently in the process
of independent registration as an NGO in Sweden). GAP International is
the international coordination, support and research umbrella organization
for 14 autonomous GAP national organizations, 11 of them European. Both
Marilyn Mehlmann and Nadia McLaren are Directors of GAP International;
Ms Mehlmann is also its General Secretary.
GAP was founded in 1989 to develop structured support for people wishing
to adopt sustainable lifestyles. GAP's EcoTeam programme is a community-based
programme enabling large numbers of ordinary people to make a significant
contribution to the solution of environmental problems by consciously modifying
their way of life. The basis of the programme is the concept of the EcoTeam:
a small group of households, usually neighbours, who meet over a period
of weeks or months and, with the help of a trained coach, examine and modify
their own consumption patterns.
The primary role of GAP in each country is to help build local programme
campaign groups in selected neighbourhoods and communities. The local groups
achieve synergy and diffusion effects by recruiting and supporting a significant
proportion of the population (about 10% of all households) through the
EcoTeam programme. Currently this is done by word-of-mouth. GAP is enthusiastic
about investigating software-assistance to enhance and enrich this process.
The IAPCO Institute for Congress Management Training (IAPCO-ICMT)
is associated with UIA through shared staff and office premises and organisation
The International Association of Professional Congress Organizers (IAPCO)
was founded in 1968 by and for professionals engaged in organization and
management of international and national congresses, conventions and special
events. Its objectives are to provide a code of conduct for the congress
industry and to raise the standard of professionalism within the industry
through education and interaction between members and with colleagues in
IAPCO's aims include to:
IAPCO-ICMT organizes an annual seminar on professional congress organization.
It will serve as the collaborative partner for this project and a potential
venue for demonstration and production of the prototypes relevant to meetings.
In 1996 IAPCO-ICMT was represented at an experimentalnetworked-notebook
meeting of Associate members of the UIA.
undertake and promote the study of theoretical and practical aspects of
undertake research work concerning all problems confronting professional
organizers of international meetings, and to seek and promote relevant
The Institute for Social Inventions (ISI) (London) is
a registered educational charity in the UK, set up in 1985 and funded via
the Fourth World Educational and Research Association Trust (Reg. Charity
#283040). SIS collects visions, ideas and projects, and fosters social
creativity through workshops and competitions. It stresses the importance
of projects at the neighbourhood level and helps members of the public
put their own ideas into action and supports them into reality, a process
it calls 'earthing visions'.
Lebensgarten community (Steyerberg, Germany) is associated with
the Partners as a member of GEN. It started as an intentional community
in 1984 and now comprises 130 people (85 adults and 45 children) operating
on the basis of individual economic and social responsibility. Amongst
other strengths it is a centre of permaculture, education and healing.
Findhorn Foundation (Forres, Scotland), is also associated as
a member of GEN. The Foundation started as an intentional community in
1962. Now 34 years old, it has 375 members. It has a full workshop and
education programme. In 1995 the Community held the confrence Ecological
Villages and Sustainable Communities: models for 21st Century Living.
In 1995, the Foundation's Ecological Village Project was one of 50 communities
from 33 countries receiving an award as part of the We the People's
50 Communities Awards, sponsored by the Friends of the United Nation.
The awards recognize demonstration of positive and practical solutions
to global problems and the lessons they can offer to other communities.
Interest in this project has been expressed also by several LETS communities
and associations, including LETS LINK, UK; Shankhill Community, Ireland;
and groups in Germany and Switzerland. These community groups are examples
of Local Employment Trading/Energy Transfer System (LETSystems), a local
economic system practised by several hundred communities around the world.
Every member of the Core Research Group is currently associated with
experimental initiatives at least one real-life community. These include
Lebensgarten (Germany), Findhorn (Scotland) and 31 other GEN communities
(9 in Europe);
53 GAP Communities (43 in Europe) with Community Lifestyle Programmes.
The personnel and organization resources described above are considered
sufficient to cover the tasks required for the year of research described
in this proposal. Additional needs, and the best means of meeting them,
would be evaluated during the research period of this current contract.
The proposed project is a natural extension of current programme areas
of all the five Partners (though it is highly unlikely that these particular
activities would have been given funding priority in the foreseeable future
-- partly relating to the interdisciplinary nature of the work). This means
that the proposed project, if funded, would interface smoothly with the
normal operations of the organisation Partners. Experienced and motivated
personnel would do the work; no additional staffing would be needed in
the Partner organizations. One clear benefit of this is that very efficient
use could be made of the Community's financial resources invested in this
project. Another is that the work milieu of the Partners would provide
contextual support for the new project, eg general staff would redirect
any potentially relevant information to the project, certain in-house technical
capability may be advanced in anticipation of the needs of the new project,
DURATION AND RESOURCES
The research development of the entire suite of modules has been tentatively
scheduled over three years. Only the first research year of 12 months is
fully detailed and costed and the subject of this proposal (Table 3 details
the Partners' labour costs). Budget estimates are given below for the second
and third years. [Relevant details not included here]
The Partners are choosing to allocate matching funds for the undertaking
of this project because it represents for them an exciting opportunity
to further their objectives and contribute to the development of interfaces
which are human-centred. None of the Partners could afford to do so, nor
would the consortium and development work be possible to sustain, without
the matching funds of the Commission. All the Partners are not-for-profit
institutions, and so the funding support is needed to maintain organizational
operations and services. The research strategy for Year 1 relies on the
equipment investments already made by the Partners and will take full advantage
of shareware and proprietary packages made available for testing. The cost
of software to local communities is recognized as an important constraint.
Invoicing will be according to Commission guidelines. Cost statements
for reimbursement by the Commission will be made against actual timesheets
and receipts. An ECU account will be used by the Coordinating Partner to
standardize bank transfers across borders.
Financial estimates for Years 2 and 3 of the Research Programme are
of a similar order to that for Year 1. It is intended that the budget and
Partner group for the Year 2 of this research programme and for any individual
project development would be detailed to Esprit at end of Year 1. The objective
is that by the end of Year 3, all the modules will have been investigated
to the point where their feasibility has been proven (or not) and they
are ready for production/distribution and use.