The potential of local DIY networks operating outside the public Internet is still an open and challenging problem in terms of technical feasibility, potential applications and usability, their connection to the physical space, and their social and political implications.
The main argument of this work is that wireless technology, even in cases where the public Internet is easily accessible, provides a very interesting alternative, autonomous, option for communication, which 1) ensures that all connected devices are in de facto physical proximity, 2) offers opportunities and novel capabilities for interesting combinations of virtual and physical contact and appropriation of the hybrid space, 3) enables the (truly) serendipitous gathering of diverse people without the need to have any specific application installed or provide any credentials, 4) allows for purely anonymous and privacy-preserving virtual interactions, and 5) can create feelings of ownership and independence of citizens.
However, timidity, security threats, and the potential lack of common interests could limit the desire of people to participate in local interactions mediated through ICT or not. Such psychological issues and various technical challenges hinder today the creation of plug and play solutions that can compete with the quality of service offered by popular Internet applications. For this, the role of interaction design is critical and part of this talk will be dedicated in bringing inspiration from existing initiatives across the world, and discuss new ideas and important details of hybrid space design that can take advantage of the particularities of wireless technology to encourage and facilitate information between strangers in public spaces and urban neighbourhoods.
P. Antoniadis and I. Apostol. The Neighbourhood Game: from Behavioural Economics to Urban Planning. In 1st International Conference on Internet Science, Brussels, 10-11th April, 2013. Available at:
Panayotis Antoniadis is a senior researcher at ETH Zurich. His main research contributions to date are in the economic modelling and incentive mechanisms for peer-to-peer systems, including file sharing, community wireless networks, and shared virtualized infrastructures. He is currently pursuing an interdisciplinary research agenda, bringing together concepts and ideas from networking, human computer interaction, urban studies, and behavioural economics, on the role of social software and wireless networks for the design of sustainable hybrid neighbourhood communities (project nethood.org).
Panayotis received his Ph.D. degree from the Athens University of Economics and Business in 2006, and until 2012 he was a post-doc researcher at UPMC Sorbonne Universites in Paris.