Developing a DIY networking toolkit for location-based collective awareness.
MAZI means “together” in Greek and project aims to provide technology and knowledge to: Empower those who are in physical proximity, to shape their hybrid urban space, together, according to the specificities of the respective local environment. Generate location-based collective awareness as a basis for fostering social cohesion, conviviality, participation in decision-making processes, self-organization, knowledge sharing, and sustainable living. Facilitate interdisciplinary interactions around the design of hybrid space and the role of ICTs in society.
Exploring Do-It-Yourself networking for community-building.
MAZI is working on an alternative technology, what we call Do-It-Yourself networking, a combination of wireless technology, low-cost hardware, and free/libre/open source software (FLOSS) applications, for building local networks, known as community wireless networks.
A toolkit is being compiled to make this technology better understood, easily deployed, and configured based on a rich set of customisation options and interdisciplinary knowledge. The MAZI toolkit will enable citizens to build their own local networks for facilitating hybrid, virtual and physical, interactions, in ways that are respectful to their rights to privacy, freedom of expression and self-determination.
MAZI takes the perspective of existing grassroots initiatives, whose goals are social and political in nature, and explores ways that DIY networking technologies can help pursue them.
The MAZI project includes four pilot studies, in Germany, Greece, Switzerland and the UK. These pilot studies will take into account different perspectives namely technological, scientific, political and social. Through this work with the pilot studies, the MAZI project will develop a toolkit, which will include:
- Installation scripts and hardware options for covering a target area with a DIY network.
- FLOSS web applications for location-based exchanges and interactions, easily customized according to the context.
- Templates for the design of physical artefacts that could complement the deployed network.
- A rich set of guidelines for customization of the functionality offered by the different toolkit offerings.
Specifically, the aims of the project are being achieved by the project partners:
- Collaboratively developing a DIY Networking toolkit for the easy construction and deployment of a MAZI zone.
- Running real-life experimentation through four pilots, each bringing together publics toward a collective awareness of localities and enrichment of MAZI toolkit.
- Facilitating interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary interactions around MAZI toolkit and important questions around the role of ICTs in everyday life.
- Actively contributing towards the wider community that are promoting and studying the use of DIY Networking as the main infrastructure for location-based collective awareness.
The role of IET
IET carried out the following activities:
- Exploring the state of the art and deployed initial experimental MAZI zones using existing free software applications.
- Using participatory design to target suitable applications and appropriate customization options to include in the second version of the MAZI toolkit.
- Developing a framework for interdisciplinary comparisons, aimed at extracting information about the context, language, discourse and modus operandi of the partners in charge of the different pilots.