Community Animation: Exploring a design space that leverages geosocial networking to increase community engagement

Jomara Sandbulte, Jessica Kropczynski, John M. Carroll

This paper explores a design study of a smartphone enabled meet-up app meant to inspire engagement in community innovation. Community hubs such as co-working spaces, incubators, and maker spaces attract community members with diverse interests. This paper presents these spaces as a design opportunity for an application that helps host community-centered meet-ups in smart and connected communities. Our design study explores three scenarios of use, inspired by previous literature, for organizing meet-ups and compares them by surveying potential users. Based on the results of our survey, we propose several design implications and implement them in the Community Animator geosocial networking application, which identifies nearby individuals that are willing to chat or perform community-centered activities. We present the results of both our survey and our prototype, discuss our design goals, and provide design implications for civic-minded, geosocial networking applications. Our contribution in this work is the development process, proposed design of a mobile application to support community-centered meet-ups, and insights for future work.

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