Maarit Mäkinen from Finland wrote

>I'm trying to find sites that are mainly created around geographical
>communities. The main importance is that community´s people are involve and
>developing this new media for their own purposes. I´m working for a a
>research project called "Locality in the Global Net" in Finland and I want
>to include comparative studying of online communities in US.

I too would like to here from anyone else doing similar research or running
networks that focus on local discussion, civic Journalism or e-democracy.
I'm working on a project with BBC Online, and starting a list to discuss
this type of online community. Our main focus on sites will be UK, but
we'll be discussing what works and what doesn't in general. More details
below - if you want to join just mail me with a few words about your


Statement at BBC Online Communities Conference

Virtual communities linked to 'real' neighbourhoods throughout the UK may
soon have a unique window to the world through plans being developed with
the BBC.

Already hundreds of UK towns and villages have created Web pages,
discussion forums and other features to provide information about local
activities - but there is no one place that they can be found, or any major
source of help for new online community builders. There are many more
virtual communities in the US and around the world.

BBC Online has now invited Partnerships Online and other UK pioneers to
develop plans under which the best examples of local Web pages, discussion
forums and other initiatives are featured on a new online communities

Other ideas which could be explored (with BBC Education, for example) might
include a linked 'toolkit' of practical help for people setting up new
communities which could be part of a television series. The Department of
Trade and Industry has provided initial support to Partnerships Online to
develop toolkit content.

A series on 'Growing Virtual Communities' could - for example - encourage
groups throughout the UK to get together and get themselves online. The
expanding Community Hub would promote the use of the Internet.... get the
nation online... and so stimulate the growth of virtual communities linked
to real communities.

On June 17 BBC Online is hosting a major conference on online communities,
addressed by US Internet guru Howard Rheingold. At the same time David
Wilcox, of Partnerships Online, is in the US speaking at the annual
conference for those involved there in community networking. He will invite
US networkers to join a transnational initiative to share US and European

Lizzie Jackson of BBC Online said: "For more than 75 years the BBC has
provided a unique public service on television and radio. Now it is
bringing those same values to the Internet, with a wide range of quality
content for UK Internet users."

Partnerships Online was founded a over a year ago to provide practical help
to organisations and local communities seeking to use the Internet for
public benefit. It is also working with the Government-funded Community
Development Foundation on The Community Channel, an experiment in linking
Civil Servants and other policy makers with local groups. The Channel is
supported by the Active Communities Unit of the Home Office.

David Wilcox, [log in to unmask] +44 (0) 1273 677377
Partnerships Online
The Community Channel