Link to the University of Pittsburgh Homepage
Link to the University Library System Homepage Link to the Contact Us Form

Modeling Sustainability of Participatory Information Systems for Urban Communities: A Mixed-Method Approach

Lopez , Claudia (2016) Modeling Sustainability of Participatory Information Systems for Urban Communities: A Mixed-Method Approach. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

Accepted Version

Download (4MB)


In the face of the growing challenge of low civic participation, various technology-based endeav- ors, such as hyper-local social media and open government initiatives, have emerged to facilitate citizens’ involvement with their local communities. However, evidence-based guidelines about how to start and maintain viable information systems for urban communities are scarce and in- conclusive. My dissertation aims to identify factors that affect the sustainability of these systems by conducting a mixed-method empirical investigation of the E-Democracy platform, a pioneer platforms of its kind. With this goal, I proposed a framework to model the influence of offline characteristics of the target urban communities, system design, and residents’ online behaviors on the sustainability of participatory information systems for urban communities. Guided by this framework, I conducted analyses of urban communities’ public data; longitudinal studies, con- tent classification and social network analysis of archival data of the system; and a cross-sectional study of user surveys. The results indicate that (1) certain community characteristics, such as neighborhood instability, play a crucial role in the sustainability of these information systems, (2) both on-site and off-site communication among residents is key for the systems to have an impact on community involvement, and (3) particular design decisions can foster participation of under- represented populations. My work bridges the gap between research on social computing and community informatics by providing a framework to analyze the sustainability of participatory in- formation systems for urban communities. The findings have implications for information experts and technology developers seeking to study or design technologies for local communities.


Social Networking:
Share |


Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Lopez , Claudiacal95@pitt.eduCAL950000-0003-1699-1999
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairFarzan, Rostarfarzan@pitt.eduRFARZAN
Committee MemberLin, Yu-Ruyurulin@pitt.eduYURULIN
Committee MemberBrusilovsky, Peterpeterb@pitt.eduPETERB0000-0002-1902-1464
Committee MemberButler, Brian
Date: 15 January 2016
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 24 November 2015
Approval Date: 15 January 2016
Submission Date: 15 January 2016
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 219
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Information Sciences > Information Science
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Community informatics Urban informatics Hyper-local Discussion forums Social capital Digital inclusion Neighborhoods
Related URLs:
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2016 22:00
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 14:31


Monthly Views for the past 3 years

Plum Analytics

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item