Community technology centers (CTCs) are potentially a critical component in the communication environment of urban communities. They have been investigated extensively as instruments of technology-based public policy and social service capacity-building, yet they have not been subject to research that posits these centers as integral components of larger communication systems essential to civic participation and empowerment. This article describes how communication theory, communication infrastructure theory and community technology centers contribute to solving the inequalities addressed in previous studies of the ‘digital divide’. The article presents the communication infrastructure theory perspective as a way to reconcile alternative prescriptions for the way in which community technology interventions can lead to positive outcomes for local community-building and social mobility enhancement. This project re-situates the CTC as a communication-centric phenomenon, focusing on the linkages between the community-building capacity of CTCs and their role as an integral component of a community’s communication infrastructure.
Synopsis from Craig Hayden & Sandra J. Ball-Rokeach’s Maintaining the digital hub: locating the community technology center in a communication infrastructure from the journal New Media & Society.