- Alan Shaw
- WHAT HE DOES:
- Creates ways for communities to organize online
- LATEST TRIUMPH:
- Wiring a New Jersey housing project
With the Internet making the world smaller and smaller, it makes sense, says Alan Shaw, that neighborhoods shrink as well. "If technology can make it easy to communicate with people in China, why not with the person next door?"
In 1993, as a graduate student at MIT's Media Lab, Shaw created a computer bulletin board system called the Multi-User Sessions in Community (MUSIC). With an $8,000 Wood Foundation grant, he moved Apple computers and high-speed modems into a dozen homes in his working-class Boston neighborhood of Dorchester and hooked them up to MUSIC. Within weeks, residents--some of whom had never met before--logged onto the system and organized a food co-op, a newsletter, and crime watches.