Putnam reports a decline of social capital in society, Castells speaks of a privatisation of sociability. In this paper, I argue that, in local contexts, the internet holds the potential to grow strong communities of place which are rich in social capital. However, this potential can only be realised by online communication networks which are designed to create a sense of social ownership within the community. This paper provides the rationale for a research project currently undertaken by the author which seeks to inform the design and development of online communication networks to grow sustainable communities of place
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