Free public Wi-Fi and E-Planning: the use of online planning to build better networked public places

Alexander Townshend Lambert, Scott McQuire, Nikos Papastergiadis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Networked media are increasingly pervading public spaces and influencing the way we behave in public. Australian municipalities and cultural institutions have begun deploying free Wi-Fi services hoping they will attract more visitors to public places, aid in curated events, galvanize communities and enhance local economies. In this article we present multi-method research aimed at understanding whether such services can enhance public space and culture, and hence contribute to the public good. We identify multiple forms of positive use which certain kinds of user-centric services enable. However, many public institutions face problems to do with funding, network models and choice of place which prevent the actualization of these positive outcomes. We consider how e-planning can be mobilized to help such institutions develop virtuous networked public spaces.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)70 - 85
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of E-Planning Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes

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