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Mobility and the local community

Widely available individual transport has contributed to enormously increased mobility. Such progress has not only made it possible to voyage far-and-wide and discover unknown areas and countries, but also to live further away from essential facilities like shops and schools. This has led to the decline of the provision of these facilities in rural and poorer areas which in turn has increased their poverty. At the same time, people were able to move out of costly town centres and further away from work. The result has been a significant degradation of inner city life. In many ways, "mobility" has come to mean the willingness of individuals (and their families) to move to where work is available. Although this mobility might have a positive side in leading to greater intercultural understanding, it certainly contributes to breaking local ties leaving the individual or family more isolated. At the same time it makes them potential customers for organised care and welfare.

At first sight, it would seem that tele-activities might reverse this tendency. The resulting reduced mobility would contribute to much-needed sustainable development. At the same time, it would allow the individual to remain rooted in his home culture without being penalised by the distance from essential facilities and work. Such a hypothesis supposes that work a

nd other activities are not dependent on the context in which they take place. To what extent can the on-line context complete the local-based environment by providing in particular:
  • outside stimulation;
  • additional incentives to learning and personal improvement;
  • facilities not available locally;
  • satisfactory job opportunities?

At the same time, there is clearly a need to rediscover and reinforce the community spirit and the sense of identity that comes from belonging and taking part. Such action, although it does not involve networking, is absolutely essential if the networked society is to work satisfactorily.

The reverse side of such a change is that people world wide will be competing for the same work. Unlike the village of our ancestors, in the electronically enhanced local community your competitors are scattered world wide. Are those people going to remain unknown to each other or are they going to come together in guilds of common interests? This perspective introduces a new facet to the somewhat hackneyed idea of globalisation.

The other texts of The re-connected individual are:

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ISSN: 1664-834X Copyright © , Alan McCluskey, info@connected.org
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Created: July 3rd, 1996 - Last up-dated: July 3rd, 1996