BlockShare: A communications platform run by neighbors – to empower and connect neighbors
BlockShare is the term we’ve given to the idea of a local communications platform that combines hardware, software, and community norms to connect residents to each other and the world. We know that many city blocks and neighborhoods are under-served by businesses, institutions, and internet providers – in terms of quality and quantity. How can these neighbors and their groups better connect to serve each other and themselves in a direct “peer-to-peer” way?
In rural areas, blocks may translate to miles, but the need for connections remains as vital as in the city. Neighbors in these areas can benefit even more, by having communications tools to connect with each other. Rural areas are even less-served than cities by Internet providers.
To seed and foster technology tools for a local peer-to-peer economy.
A neighborhood-scale communications platform built, owned, operated, and trusted by its stakeholders that provides solidarity, shared benefits, and digital equity.
Here’s what we are hearing:
- “I harvested extra tomatoes this year. How do I share them with the community?”
- “We need better, affordable Internet Service!”
- “Internet-style communication tools would help me bond with my neighbors.”
- “We, the community, want to own it!”
- “Where is our trusted virtual neighborhood space?”
- “We want to practice our civic tech at a neighborhood scale”
How BlockShare Works
We envision a wifi mesh network connected to a server and an Internet gateway. Each neighborhood gets its own server and wifi network, so that neighbors who opt in can share with each other, but control what other neighborhoods see. The server would host applications that the neighborhood can use to share their assets and organize themselves with modern digital tools. The Internet gateway connects the neighborhood to the external world. When we get multiple neighborhoods up and running, we can connect them to each other for wider sharing. Equally important is to have agreed community-developed norms and rules that all can have a say in.
Does this sound interesting to you as a community resident or group? If so, let us know!