A Role for Universities in Creating and Disseminating Tools for Community Development

Stephen B. Fawcett, Tom Seekins, Paula L. Whang, Yolanda Suarez de Balcazar, Charles Muiu, Michael Johnson


Designing problem-oriented social inventions is an important (and underrepresented) role for university researchers.  This paper describes several considerations relevant to the development and transfer of community technologies by university research teams.  Several important dimensions of social technologies, the phases in the research and development process, and a strategy for facilitating the adoption (and adaptation) of community technologies are discussed.  This process is illustrated with the Community Concerns Report Method, a systematic method for identifying the strengths and problems of neighborhoods-and ideas for improvement-from the perspective of the residents.  Thus, this paper describes the process of creating and diffusing social technologies and illustrates its application in the design and transfer of a particular tool for commhnity development.

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