Design challenges for sustainablemobile community communicationservices for Indian Urban SlumsAbhigyan SinghAalto Universi...
Singh     Design challenges for sustainable mobile community communication servicesContext of researchIndia, Bangalore and...
Sustainability in Design: NOW!    This paper presents a research approach grounded in theoretical framework of Community i...
Singh     Design challenges for sustainable mobile community communication servicesDescription of Sudarshan Layout and AC3...
Sustainability in Design: NOW!Analysis of Communicative Ecology of AC3MembersFoth and Hearn (2007) describe communicative ...
Singh    Design challenges for sustainable mobile community communication servicesFigure 3: Social Layer of Communicative ...
Sustainability in Design: NOW!Figure 4: Discursive Layer of Communicative Ecology of AC3 MembersTechnological LayerFoth an...
Singh    Design challenges for sustainable mobile community communication servicesis the prevalent mode and in many cases ...
Sustainability in Design: NOW!    •    Design which utilizes existing social capital (Simpson 2005) i.e. relationships, so...
Singh      Design challenges for sustainable mobile community communication servicesDiSalvo, C., Sengers, P. & Brynjarsdót...
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Design challenges for sustainable mobile community communication services for Indian Urban Slums

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This paper is based on findings of an ethnographic field research conducted at Sudarshan
Layout, an urban slum in Bangalore, India. The research investigated mobile
based community communication and it is grounded in theoretical framework of Community
Informatics. The paper discusses communicative ecology of Ambedkar Community
Computing Center (AC3) Members, a local community of Sudarshan Layout
and hence attempts to build a broad socio-discursive-technological context of local
community communication practices.
This paper opens a discussion on social context of design for sustainability. The paper
presents an approach for design research for sustainability for Information and
Communication Technology (ICT) initiatives targeting low-income user groups and
those belonging to marginalized section of society. Following the discussion the paper
presents design challenges for sustainable mobile community communication services
for residents of Indian urban slums.

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Design challenges for sustainable mobile community communication services for Indian Urban Slums

  1. 1. Design challenges for sustainablemobile community communicationservices for Indian Urban SlumsAbhigyan SinghAalto University School of Art and Design, Helsinki, FinlandThis paper is based on findings of an ethnographic field research conducted at Sudar-shan Layout, an urban slum in Bangalore, India. The research investigated mobilebased community communication and it is grounded in theoretical framework of Com-munity Informatics. The paper discusses communicative ecology of Ambedkar Com-munity Computing Center (AC3) Members, a local community of Sudarshan Layoutand hence attempts to build a broad socio-discursive-technological context of localcommunity communication practices. This paper opens a discussion on social context of design for sustainability. The pa-per presents an approach for design research for sustainability for Information andCommunication Technology (ICT) initiatives targeting low-income user groups andthose belonging to marginalized section of society. Following the discussion the paperpresents design challenges for sustainable mobile community communication servicesfor residents of Indian urban slums.IntroductionThis paper is based on findings of an ethnographic field research conducted at Sudarshan Layout, an ur-ban slum in Bangalore, India. The field study that occurred during the month of February 2009 was partof my recently completed master’s thesis (title: Design Opportunities and Challenges in Indian UrbanSlums – Community Communication and Mobile Phones). The thesis investigated the area of mobilebased community communication for marginalized communities belonging to Indian urban slums. The research is qualitative in nature and is best identified as participatory bottom-up exploration. Thisresearch is grounded in the theoretical framework of Community Informatics (De Moor 2009). Commu-nity informatics is focused towards utilizing the social context of technology use to develop tools forempowerment of a community. The paper presents Communicative Ecology (Tacchi et al. 2003) of Am-bedkar Community Computing Center (AC3) Members, a local community of Sudarshan Layout andhence attempts to build a broad socio-discursive-technological context of local community communica-tion practices. This paper opens a discussion on social context of design for sustainability. The paper presents anapproach for design research for sustainability for Information and Communication Technology (ICT)initiatives targeting low-income user groups and those belonging to marginalized section of society. Fol-lowing the discussion the paper presents design challenges for sustainable mobile community communi-cation services for residents of Indian urban slums. 532
  2. 2. Singh Design challenges for sustainable mobile community communication servicesContext of researchIndia, Bangalore and urban slumsIndia is a democratic country with multitude of languages and cultures. India amounts to 17% of worldpopulation and includes one-third of world’s poor (Rao 2009). According to the last Census of India(2001), India’s overall population was 1027 million, out of which 285 million (27.8 %) lived in urbanareas. This research is based on ethnographic field study done in Bangalore city. Bangalore is located insouthern part of India and it is capital city of state of Karnataka. Bangalore has population of over 6.5million and is ranked fifth most populous city of India (Raman 2008). Bangalore is a world famous In-formation Technology (IT) center and is widely known as ‘Silicon Valley of India. The city has played amajor role in economic growth of India and has also been test bed for number of ICT initiatives for de-velopment (Singhal & Rogers 2001). It is widely accepted that ‘slums’ are difficult to define and there are multiple definitions and mean-ings co-existing (Sliwa 2008). According to UN-Habitat (2003, p.xxxi): “Slums are distinguished by poor quality of housing, poverty of inhabitants, the lack of public or pri- vate services and the poor integration of the inhabitants into the broader community and its opportu- nities.” 31.6% of world’s urban population i.e. 924 million people lives in slums and population of urbanslums across the globe is estimated to increase by 2 billion in next thirty years. 67 million of the urbanpopulation of India are below poverty line i.e. people living on less that US$ 2 per day (Rao 2009). UrbanSlums are marginalized and represents the most disadvantaged group of urban dwellers. Much of the la-bor forces in cities of developing countries live in slums (ibid.).India and mobile phonesLate start but fast pace, this phrase very well summarizes India’s mobile markets growth. According toTelecom Regulatory Authority of India (2010), total mobile phone subscriber base reached 545.05 Mil-lion users mark by end of January 2010. 19.9 Million new mobile subscribers were added in month ofJanuary 2010 alone. Indian mobile telecom sector is growing in the range of 35-40 percent per annum interms of new subscriber addition (Pai 2008). Despite the rapid growth of mobile phones in India, mobileteledensity is still low at 46.37 percent. This also indicates the potential for future growth. It is largelybelieved that a bulk of 250 Million new mobile users belonging to poorer section of Indian society willsoon add to mobile subscriber user base (Pai 2008).Design for SustainabilityUNEP’s Design for Sustainability. a practical approach for Developing Economies (2006) defines: “To be sustainable, product innovation must meet a number of challenges linked to people, planet and profit: social expectations and an equitable distribution of value along the global value chain, and the innovation must work within the carrying capacity of the supporting ecosystems”.The concept of design for sustainability is not limited to environmental or ecological or economic aspectsbut has moved to incorporate the social dimension of sustainability in design of services and products(2009). Many researchers have mentioned design community’s lack of emphasis on social dimension ofsustainability (Bhamra & Lofthouse 2007). Similarly, many researchers have questioned the approacheswhich have just focused on technological solutions while ignoring the broader context of social, cultural,political issues involved with the use of the design (DiSalvo et al. 2010). Social aspects of sustainability are quite important (Simpson 2005) and significance of it can be un-derstood from the fact that many community level ICT initiatives targeting poorer section of developingcountries like India have failed to sustain and progress beyond the pilot phase. One of the prime reasonsfor the failure has been that the focus of the initiatives was on building technological infrastructure ratherthan understanding and utilizing the local social infrastructure (Ashraf et al. 2007; Nnadi & Gurstein2007; Gurstein 2006). 533
  3. 3. Sustainability in Design: NOW! This paper presents a research approach grounded in theoretical framework of Community informatics(discussed below). This approach is relevant for the design research for sustainability (DRfS) and corre-sponds to Ezio Manzini’s description of “High degree of context quality” as a main characteristic of sus-tainable systems: “...overall quality of the people’s contexts of life and it refers to highly context-related systems of production and consumption. It integrates a variety of social, cultural and economic parameters in the framework of wider, and socially recognised, scenarios of sustainability. Today these scenarios of sustainability are still in their building phase.” (2006, p.4)Community Informatics (CI)De Moor (2009) describes Community informatics (CI) as a branch of study based on community andtechnology. Community informatics research recognizes that it is crucial for sustenance of Informationand Communication Technology (ICT) initiatives in developing countries to understand social aspects ofuse of technologies, for example mobile phones (Garside 2009). Community informatics is focused to-wards utilizing this social context of technology use to develop tools for empowerment of a community. Many Community informatics researchers have argued for designing innovative solutions within theavailable technological infrastructure and grounding the design in existing local practices of the commu-nity (Salvador & Sherry 2004; Nnadi & Gurstein 2007; Ashraf et al. 2007). This approach requires build-ing a broad understanding of practices of local community. This research finds conceptual framework of‘Communicative Ecology’ relevant in this regard (discussed below).Communicative EcologyThe methodological approach followed in this research is inspired by Ethnographic Action Research(EAR). Ethnographic Action Research (EAR) is the research approach to study impact of Information andCommunication Technology (ICT) especially in the area related to poverty alleviation (Tacchi et al.2003). The research methods employed for this study were: participant-observation, field notes, groupinterviews, in-depth interviews and self-documentation exercises. Ethnographic Action Research (EAR) suggests use of the concept of ‘communicative ecology’ tounderstand the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) and their effects in people’slives (Tacchi et al. 2003). Communicative ecology aims to build a broader context for the communicationthat people engage in. The communicative ecology approach proposes that instead of evaluating use of aparticular ICT and its effect, researchers should aim to build a broader picture by looking at the use ofmix of ICTs, social networks, communication channels, and resources available. Communicative ecologysuggests that to build an appropriate understanding, we need to evaluate how people combine variousmedia in their use, how and with whom people communicate, and how various ICTs are localized in peo-ple’s everyday life. By evaluating communicative ecology, communication could be studied as a process.The possibility of success of an ICT initiative is much higher if the design of media is grounded in theseprocesses (ibid.). Foth and Hearn (2007) further define the concept of communicative ecology as consisting of threelayers: • The Technology Layer comprises of devices, media and various channels used for communica- tion. • The Social Layer comprises of people, social groups, networks and communities. It takes into account formal groups as well as informal gatherings. • The Discursive Layer consists of the content or theme of communication. This research finds the conceptual framework of Communicative Ecology relevant for design researchfor sustainability especially for the initiatives dealing with community communication. 534
  4. 4. Singh Design challenges for sustainable mobile community communication servicesDescription of Sudarshan Layout and AC3Sudarshan Layout is a residential area for the (marginalized) community of construction workers, domes-tic helps, labourers belonging to scheduled caste (SC), as recognized by Indian constitution. SudarshanLayout is located in Gurappana Palya, near Bannerghatta Highway, Bangalore, India. Sudarshan Layoutis roughly a hundred meters (length) by fifty meters (breadth) in area and around three hundred familieslive in over hundred and fifteen houses, most of which are one room tenements. Family income variesbetween Indian National Rupees (INR) 1500-10000 (40-150 Euros) per month. The residents have lim-ited access to civic amenities and services. It is surrounded by big corporate offices. There are a few cy-bercafés and mobile SIM recharging centers in the close vicinity of the Sudarshan Layout. Ambedkar Community Computing Center (AC3) is described by residents of Sudarshan Layout as aninformal computer education center for children of slums. AC3 is based in Sudarshan Layout. The idea ofAC3 was conceived during a meeting of local youth of Sudarshan Layout with Stree Jagurati Samiti (SJS)and Ambedkar Youth Association (AYA). Stree Jagurati Samiti (SJS) is a Bangalore based Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) and Ambedekar Youth Association (AYA) is an association of localyouth of Sudarshan Layout. The local youth aspired for computer education and during the meeting theyexpressed their aspirations. AYA agreed to provide space to start a computer center while SJS contactedAssociation for India’s Development (AID) with request for teachers. Association for India’s Develop-ment (AID) is a group of volunteers primarily software professionals working in Information Technology(IT) industry of Bangalore. Local youth took the responsibility to take care of affairs of the computer cen-ter and other Sudarshan Layout residents helped in building the necessary infrastructure. Finally, thecomputer center was formally inaugurated on 6th July 2008. AC3 is a bottom-up initiative. Local community of Sudarshan Layout holds the ownership of AC3.AC3 follows a layered and community oriented approach of teaching i.e. the AID volunteers teach thelocal youth while local youth teach the younger children from Sudarshan Layout. AC3 was created and issustained by joint efforts of various groups of people. Some of the groups belong to Sudarshan Layoutwhile others are from outside. I identified following groups involved in AC3: • A self-organized group consisting of members of local youth of Sudarshan Layout. This group learns computer skills from AID volunteers. This group voluntarily took responsibility to con- duct computer classes for children of Sudarshan Layout, for safety of equipments, and for many other issues concerning AC3. It is an open group and anyone can be part of it. I refer to this group as ‘AC3 Members’. • Children of Sudarshan Layout who learn computer skills from AC3 Students. They visit AC3 every evening for the computer class. I refer to this group as ‘AC3 Students’. • Parents of AC3 Members, AC3 Students and other local residents help in various daily issues re- lated to AC3. I refer to this group as ‘AC3 Support Group’. • Members of AYA, AID, SJS and some other independent volunteers are actively engaged in various activities of AC3 like teaching, helping in homework, motivating AC3 Members etc. AC3 Members is the user group which participated in this research and in the following section I dis-cuss the communicative ecology of the group.Figure 1: Sudarshan Layout Figure 2: AC3 Members and AC3 Students 535
  5. 5. Sustainability in Design: NOW!Analysis of Communicative Ecology of AC3MembersFoth and Hearn (2007) describe communicative ecology as comprising of social, discursive and techno-logical layers. Here, I present the discussion on communicative ecology of AC3 Members in three sec-tions based on the three layers.Social LayerFoth and Hearn (2007) describe social layer of communicative ecology as comprising of social networks,social groups, people and communities. Social Layer takes both formal and informal associations intoaccount. See Figure 3 for a graphic representation of the social layer. At the time of research, the AC3 Members went to schools or college or work in the morning and meteach other in the evening, usually at AC3. Trust, friendship and sense of belongingness for each otherwas very noticeable among them. AC3 Members were respected by Sudarshan Layout residents. AC3Members held computer classes for AC3 Students every evening. AC3 members had a sense of responsi-bility towards AC3 students. It also emerged that many of the children from Sudarshan Layout were en-rolled for formal schooling after AC3 members convinced the children’s parents. AC3 Support Group,primarily consisting of parents of both, AC3 Members and AC3 Students, were regular visitors to AC3.AC3 Support Group helped the AC3 Members in various activities related to regular functioning of theclass. Sudarshan Layout has a few small shops like a road-side tea stall, a bakery and few small multi-purpose shops. AC3 Members were socially connected to these shopkeepers. Most of the AC3 Memberswere regular visitors of these shops. Head of (Ambedkar Youth Association) AYA, was referred to as a‘Community Leader’ of Sudarshan Layout. He was a social worker and was actively involved in support-ing AC3. Other members of AYA were respected and trusted by all the residents of Sudarshan Layout.AC3 Members met Stree Jagurati Samiti (SJS) volunteers once in a while. Their meeting used to be atSJS’s office. Interaction of AC3 Members with AID volunteers consists of evening classes. At the timeof this research, these classes were held for one hour per day and five days per week. Some independentvolunteers, primarily software professionals, also visited Sudarshan Layout regularly. Most of these inde-pendent volunteers came to know of AC3 through AID volunteers and started participating in the activi-ties of AC3. AC3 Members and other groups from Sudarshan Layout were found to trust and respectthese volunteers while volunteers acted with responsibility. 536
  6. 6. Singh Design challenges for sustainable mobile community communication servicesFigure 3: Social Layer of Communicative Ecology of AC3 MembersDiscursive LayerFoth and Hearn (2007) describe discursive layer of communicative ecology as comprising of informationor content of interaction. See Figure 4 for a graphic representation of the discursive layer. AC3 Members serve as an information channel for AC3 Support Group, AC3 Students and other resi-dents of Sudarshan Layout. I observed that many of the members of AC3 Support Group, especially oldermen and women, do not visit places far away from Sudarshan Layout. They get information about eventsaround Sudarshan Layout from AC3 Members, AID Volunteers and other local groups. The communica-tion between AC3 Members and AC3 Support Group consists of information sharing related to daily ac-tivities of AC3. Communication between AC3 Members and AC3 Students is also related to computereducation and discussion on everyday events. AC3 Members and AC3 Support Group discussed localproblems, depending on the context, with AYA, SJS and AID volunteers. AC3 Members added thatwhenever some unfavorable event happens in Sudarshan Layout they definitely communicate with AIDvolunteers. It was found that AID volunteers and independent volunteers were well informed and con-cerned about the regular happenings in AC3 and Sudarshan Layout. Regular conversation of AC3 mem-bers with the AID volunteers consisted of casual chat, informing volunteers about daily events, and dis-cussion on AC3 and computer education. These volunteers also informally served as a channel forinformation. They informed locals including AC3 Students about events, news from around the globe. 537
  7. 7. Sustainability in Design: NOW!Figure 4: Discursive Layer of Communicative Ecology of AC3 MembersTechnological LayerFoth and Hearn (2007) describe technological layer of communicative ecology as comprising of applica-tions, devices, gadgets, media and various channels of communication. In this section I describe the tech-nological layer of AC3 Members’ communicative ecology. See Figure 5 for a graphic representation ofthe technological layer. Almost every household in Sudarshan Layout has a television set. Financially better off families haveaccess to satellite television, which requires dish antenna while others receive Indian government’s na-tional television channel called ‘Doordarshan’. Many of the households have personal DVD players athome. AC3 Members informed that once every week someone from the locality gets a film’s DVD andthen many of them watch it together. At times movies are played on AC3 laptop for children of SudashanLayout. Movie watching is not limited to a family but is a social event where friends and other familiesare invited. Another study done in urban slums of Bangalore has reported similar findings (Sambasivan etal. 2009). In Sudarshan Layout, very few families were found to have subscribed to newspapers. Most commonway, especially amongst male population, is to read newspaper at the local tea stall and bakery. Theseshops also use newspapers as serving plates for the snacks. None of the families in Sudarshan Layoutowns a computer or a laptop. AC3 has two donated laptops which have Ubuntu (linux based operatingsystem) installed. There are few donated desktop computers but they do not work because of recurringpower fluctuation. AC3 Members and AC3 Students usually use laptops for basic computer functionali-ties like word processing, games, movie watching, image editing and digital drawing. Neither AC3 norany household in Sudarshan Layout has Internet access. AC3 Members access Internet primarily fromcybercafes or from AID volunteers’ homes. Very few households have land line phones connection. Su-darshan Layout residents also have access to six telephone coin-booths. These coin-booths are installed atsmall multi-purpose shops. Mobile phones penetration is quite high in Sudarshan Layout. Every household has at least one mobilephone with a maximum of four mobile phones per family. Mobile phone was usually owned by workingmember of the family. It is a general belief amongst Sudarshan Layout residents that anyone who has togo out of Sudarshan Layout for work deserves to keep a mobile phone. A major reason for this belief, asexplained by locals, is sense of safety and connectedness with the community. Mobile phone is the pri-mary device for mediated community communication in Sudarshan Layout. It was also found that ‘Voice’ 538
  8. 8. Singh Design challenges for sustainable mobile community communication servicesis the prevalent mode and in many cases the only possible mode of community communication in Sudar-shan Layout. ‘Voice’ includes Face-to-Face (F2F) communication as well as mobile mediated communi-cation. AC3 Members informed that whenever they have option to either make a voice call or send sms,they always prefer voice call. As represented in figure 4.5 all the communication of AC3 Members withcommunities or groups within Sudarshan Layout is voice based i.e. either Face-to-Face (F2F) or mediatedby phone call (mobile phone or telephone coin-booth). In a similar study done in urban slums of Banga-lore, Sambasivan et al. (Sambasivan et al. 2009) note that “All information was orally created, main-tained, stored, guarded, shared, and transmitted through face-to-face or voice based phone channels”. There is a huge variation in use of SMS service among the residents of Sudarshan Layout. While AC3Members use SMS service extensively many of Sudarshan Layout residents reported not to have everused a SMS. AC3 Members and volunteers use SMS service to communicate and coordinate for classes.In many cases, AC3 Members send an SMS to a volunteer who in reply makes a phone call. Volunteersprimarily rely on text mode i.e. sms, e-mail, blogs, yahoo groups, google groups to communicate amongeach other.Figure 5: Technological Layer of Communicative Ecology of AC3 MembersDesign Challenges for sustainable mobileCommunity Communication ServicesIn this section I present some identified design challenges for mobile based community communicationservices for residents of Indian urban slums. These design challenges does not represent the exhaustivelist but have been identified on the basis of analysis of communicative ecology of AC3 Members. The listbelow is based on research approach of Community informatics that ICT initiatives should focus on mak-ing use of available technological infrastructure (Nnadi & Gurstein 2007; Salvador & Sherry 2004). Thisapproach supports Manzini’s (2006, pp.9-10) design guidelines for sustainable solutions i.e. “use whatexists” and “empower individuals and communities”. It is proposed to engage mobile phone for commu-nity communication as mobile phone is the most pervasive communication device in Sudarshan Layout. 539
  9. 9. Sustainability in Design: NOW! • Design which utilizes existing social capital (Simpson 2005) i.e. relationships, social bondings, and elements of trust. • Design which utilizes existing social infrastructure (Simpson 2005) i.e. people who already play role of mediator in information access to the local community. • Design which does not require people to upgrade their mobile phones to participate. • Design which utilizes existing practices of mobile use. • Design of community communication services which is not dependent on any particular mobile phone i.e. services which work with basic mobile phones. • Design which engages people without mobile phones in community communication as well. • Design of service where people can participate using telephone coin-booths as well. • Design which in not dependent on access to Internet. • Design which is cheap and robust. • Design which utilizes significance of voice in community communication i.e. design of service which is completely voice based i.e. which does not need any text input for communication. • Design which addresses non-English speakers as well as multilingual user group. • Design which includes illiterate population of the local community. • Design with minimum amount of learning required. • Design which is as easy to use as calling and disconnecting a call. • Design which is decentralized i.e. design which is not dependent on one person or one channel of communication for its functioning.ConclusionsThis paper discussed social context of design for sustainability. The paper presented an approach for de-sign research for sustainability for Information and Communication Technology (ICT) initiatives target-ing low-income user groups and those belonging to marginalized section of society. This research findsthe theoretical framework of Community Informatics (De Moor 2009) and conceptual framework ofCommunicative Ecology (Tacchi et al. 2003) relevant for design research for sustainability especially incontext of community communication services and applications. Following the discussion the paper pre-sents design challenges for sustainable mobile community communication services for residents of Indianurban slums.Bibliography2001. Census of India. Available at: http://www.censusindia.gov.in [Accessed February 28, 2010].2006. Design for Sustainability. a practical approach for Developing Economies. Available at: http://www.d4s- de.org/manual/d4stotalmanual.pdf [Accessed July 2, 2010].2009. Design for Sustainability. A Step-By-Step Approach. Available at: http://www.unep.fr/shared/publications/pdf/WEBx0155xPA-DesignforSustainability.pdf [Accessed July 2, 2010].2010. Telecom Subscription Data as on 31st January 2010. Information Note to the Press (Press Release No. 10/2010). Available at: http://www.trai.gov.in [Accessed March 1, 2010].2003. THE CHALLENGE OF SLUMS: GLOBAL REPORT ON HUMAN SETTLEMENTS. Available at: [Ac- cessed March 1, 2010].Ashraf, M.M., Swatman, P. & Hanisch, J., 2007. Some perspectives on understanding the adoption and implementa- tion of ICT interventions in developing countries. The Journal of Community Informatics, 3(4). Available at: http://www.ci-journal.net/index.php/ciej/article/view/ 297/387 [Accessed November 10, 2009].Bhamra, T. & Lofthouse, V., 2007. Design for Sustainability – A Practical Approach, Gower Publishing.De Moor, A., 2009. Moving Community Informatics Research Forward. The Journal of Community Informatics, 5(1). Available at: http://www.ci-journal.net/index.php/ciej/article/view/546/434 [Accessed June 27, 2010]. 540
  10. 10. Singh Design challenges for sustainable mobile community communication servicesDiSalvo, C., Sengers, P. & Brynjarsdóttir, H., 2010. Mapping the Landscape of Sustainable HCI. In CHI 2010. At- lanta, Georgia, USA.Foth, M. & Hearn, G.N., 2007. Networked Individualism of Urban Residents: Dicovering the communicative ecology in inner-city apartment buildings. Information, Communication & Society, 10(5), 749-772.Garside, B., 2009. Village voice: towards inclusive information technologies. International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED). Available at: [Accessed March 10, 2010].Gurstein, M., 2006. Editorial: Enabling the Local as a Fundamental Development Strategy. The Journal of Com- munity Informatics, 2(2). Available at: http://www.ci-journal.net/index.php/ciej/article/view/346/252 [Ac- cessed May 19, 2010].Hearn, G. et al., 2005. A Way Forward: Sustainable ICTs And Regional Sustainability. The Journal of Community Informatics, 1(2). Available at: http://www.ci-journal.net/index.php/ciej/article/view/201/159 [Accessed June 26, 2010].Manzini, E., 2006. Design for sustainability. How to design sustainable solutions. Available at: http://sustainable- everyday.net/manzini/?p=12 [Accessed July 4, 2010].Manzini, E., 2009. Service Design in the age of Networks and Sustainability. In Designing Services with Innovative Methods. University of Art and Design Helsinki, and Savonia University of Applied Sciences.Nnadi, N. & Gurstein, M., 2007. Towards Supporting Community Information Seeking and Use. The Journal of Community Informatics, 3(1). Available at: http://www.ci-journal.net/index.php/ciej/article/view/325/304 [Accessed June 28, 2010].Pai, S.T., 2008. A VAS Landscape: Where Do We Go From Here? Available at: http://www.itmagz.com [Accessed November 11, 2009].Raman, V.V., 2008. Examining the ‘e’ in government and governance: A case study in alternatives from Bangalore City, India. The Journal of Community Informatics, 4(2). Available at: http://www.ci- journal.net/index.php/ciej/article/view/437/405 [Accessed May 19, 2010].Rao, S.S., 2009. Role of ICTS in India Rural Communities. The Journal of Community Informatics, 5(1). Available at: http://www.ci-journal.net/index.php/ciej/article/view/313/429 [Accessed July 2, 2010].Salvador, T. & Sherry, J., 2004. Local Learnings: An Essay on Designing to Facilitate Effective Use of ICT s. The Journal of Community Informatics, 1(1). Available at: http://www.ci- journal.net/index.php/ciej/article/view/198/158 [Accessed June 19, 2010].Sambasivan, N. et al., 2009. Infrastructure and Interaction for International Development – the Case of Urban Indian Slums. In UbiComp 2009. Orlando, Florida, USA.Simpson, L., 2005. Community Informatics and Sustainability: Why Social Capital Matters. The Journal of Com- munity Informatics, 1(2). Available at: http://www.ci-journal.net/index.php/ciej/article/view/210/169 [Ac- cessed July 10, 2010].Singhal, A. & Rogers, E.M., 2001. India’s Communication Revolution. from bullock carts to cyber marts, Sage Pub- lications.Sliwa, R.S. ed., 2008. Recovering Slums. Determinants of poverty and upward social mobility in urban slums. Case Studies from India., UNI Basel and AIDMI.Tacchi, J., Slater, D. & Hearn, G.N., 2003. Ethnographic Action Research Handbook. UNESCO.About the authorAbhigyan Singh is a design researcher. He holds Master of Arts in New Media Design from Aalto University Schoolof Art and Design (previously known as University of Art and Design Helsinki,) Finland and Bachelor of Technologyin Information and Communication Technology from Dhirubhai Ambani Institute of Information and Communica-tion Technology (DA-IICT), India. He explores social aspects of ICT use and translates research findings into designconcepts.Contact details: abhigyan.singh@gmail.comAcknowledgementI express my deepest gratitude to the following individuals, groups, and organization for their support in this re-search: Joanna Saad Sulonen, Prof. Lily Diaz, Zeenath Hassan, Salil Sayed, Association for Promoting Social Action(APSA), Stree Jaguruti Samiti (SJS), Association for India’s Development (AID), Ambedkar Youth Association(AYA), Ambedkar Community Computing Center (AC3), residents of Sudarshan Layout, Public Affairs Center(PAC), MARRA, and staff of Media Lab Unit of Aalto University School of Art and Design. My sincere thank toparticipant-researchers: Mani, Sarsu, Jeeva, Santosh, Arumugham, and Satish. 541

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