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Publications - Abstracts:

Netville On-Line and Off-Line: Observing and Surveying a Wired Suburb


Since the mid-1850s, scholars have debated how technological innovation would affect community. The debate continues as the Internet makes it increasingly possible for people to socialize, shop, work, learn, and participate in leisure activities all from within their home. Will the movement of these previously public activities into the private realm lead to reduced participation in public activities? What will be the fate of community and social relations as a result of the growth of computer-mediated communication? Netville is a suburban Toronto development equipped with a high-speed network as part of its design. The clustering of homes within this area allowed us to study the social networks, civic involvement, Internet use, and attitudes of residents. This paper explores the research approach of the Netville project and describes its main sources of data collection: surveys collected using computer assisted interviewing and ethnographic fieldwork.

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