Measuring Social Capital in a Networked Housing Estate

October 13, 2002

This paper describes the construction of ‘Reach for the Clouds’, an inventive scheme to build a resident-maintained ‘networked community’ in Atherton Gardens, an ethnically-diverse, low-income, high rise public housing estate in Melbourne, Australia. The project was developed by the InfoXchange, a not-for-profit Internet service provider with a ‘social entrepreneurial’ orientation. It involves a consortium of government and community groups and draws on a combination of voluntary labour, commercial enterprise, government funding and donations of equipment by local businesses. The long term goal of the project is for it to become self-funding, and owned and operated by Atherton Gardens’ residents. This requires both training and skills development as well as the creation of an enterprise base to fund the operating and capital costs of the network.

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