One of the central elements to Public Sociology is connecting what goes on at universities (primarily academic work) with the communities that surround them.

However, the link between the two can extend beyond just sharing research that is immediately beneficial to groups in which research is based and has the most impact on.  Universities, as societal institutions, can also provide material goods to these communities, and in doing so help communities develop in various ways.

The New America Foundation’s Open Technology Institute has release a new policy paper entitled, “Universities as Hubs for Next-Generation Networks.”  This report sparks our imagination as to the ways in which universities can become beneficial institutions (beyond providing academic studies) to the people that surround them, especially in regards to addressing societal needs such as internet access in areas which sorely lack such access.  A pdf of the report can be found here.

In our view universities can play a critical role in spurring next generation networks into their communities through use of their physical infrastructure to extend high-speed Internet access and sharing their expertise and resources to support engagement and participation by community members, businesses, and institutions.

Universities and Communities

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