Speakeasy : mobile telephony for community networking and civic engagement in an immigrant community
Author(s)Hirsch, Edward A., 1970-
Mobile telephony for community networking and civic engagement in an immigrant community
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Architecture. Program in Media Arts and Sciences.
Christopher P. Csikszentmihályi.
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Immigrants face a variety of barriers limiting their access to social services. These include inability to speak English, unfamiliarity with available services, and distrust of government agencies. To overcome these obstacles, many immigrants rely on informal social networks for information, advice, and language interpretation. This is an imperfect solution that provides inadequate access for the immigrant and unduly burdens friends and family members. More importantly, it does little to address the social isolation that characterizes much of the immigrant experience and contributes to the disenfranchisement of immigrant communities. Speakeasy is a community-based service that provides telephone-based access to a network of volunteers who provide real-time language interpretation and help navigate complex social service networks. Relying on the constant connectivity afforded by cell phones and wireless devices, Speakeasy overcomes barriers to traditional forms of volunteerism with a "just in time" model of community service. The system also encourages community development efforts by engaging new immigrants and volunteers in community activity, and by fostering a sense of collective identity. A study with members of Boston's Chinatown community showed that Speakeasy is an effective, convenient, and easy to use service that engenders trust among non-English speakers.
Thesis (S.M.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, School of Architecture and Planning, Program in Media Arts and Sciences, 2004.Includes bibliographical references (leaves 76-81).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Architecture. Program in Media Arts and Sciences.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Architecture. Program in Media Arts and Sciences.