Interdisciplinary workshop
on DIY and community networking

>>   call-for-papers


This workshop is a joint venture of three EU Horizon2020 projects, MAZI, netCommons, and RIFE, in an effort to join forces around the design and use of DIY and community networking technologies for the common good, using a highly interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary approach.

With DIY and community networking we refer to a diverse set of networking technologies that range from large-scale community networks to small scale wireless installations supporting local applications accessible only to those residing in the coverage area of the network. DIY and community networking represent two frontier research themes that can open new and exciting research and application areas. On the one hand, the locality of DIY networks enables the design of hybrid spaces and places for social sustainability, collective awareness, and conviviality. On the other hand, community networking is one of the most promising approach to overcome digital divide.

What bridges these two themes is the idea that networks are not only a way to "access the Internet", but they are a way to connect people, and to empower people to make "the Internet". This workshop will contribute to investigate the way that local applications can influence the creation and the governance of community networks, and how community networks can stimulate the creation of novel local applications.

DIY and community networks are embedded with the local social environment where they grow, so their study cannot be separated from the understanding of their societal stimuli and societal impact. For this reason the workshop will be highly interdisciplinary aiming to bridge the communication gap between those that build the technology (computer scientists, engineers, and hackers) and those that understand better the complex urban environment where this technology will be deployed (social and political scientists, urban planners, and designers).

More specifically, people working on applications and uses of ICT are not always aware of the capabilities of technology for building local communication networks, on the other hand, scientists in the field of networking are often indifferent on the actual use and social implications of the technical solutions they design. We believe that we are currently in a moment in history when it is particularly important to bridge this gap between engineering and social sciences, to create an alternative to the current trend of centralization of resources and control that is taking place at a global scale on the Internet.

For the technical programme, topics of main interest include the following:
  • Technical contributions that render DIY networking technology easier to understand and use by for less technically savvy people
  • Theoretical contributions that can facilitate the understanding of the various inherent trade-offs in the design of DIY networks and the translation of engineering decisions to constraints and requirements for applications developers and vice versa.
  • The integration of community networking with DIY applications, models of deployment, experiences of success and failure for this combination.
  • The exploration of the trade-off between Internet access networks and local networks for experimenters, hackers and citizens.
  • The way DIY and community networks can be placed in the frame of other horizontal and bottom-up experiences, such as Peer Production movements.
  • The links and interrelations between DIY and community networking in the frame of the models for alternative Internets, such as peer-to-peer networking, overlay networks, blockchain technologies etc.
  • Revisit key engineering questions, such as routing protocols, energy consumption, automation, resiliency in light of the possible practical uses of DIY networking technologies.

For the special interdisciplinary session we welcome the following types of contributions:
  • Demos of working prototypes of DIY networking applications or systems
  • Posters or design mock-ups of imaginary applications
  • Short tutorials on important concepts that can facilitate interdisciplinary collaborations
  • Other alternative formats like interviews, testimonies, case studies, artistic treatments

Submission guidelines and important dates are available here: