Open Development in Poor Communities: Opportunities, Tensions, and Dilemmas

Evangelia Berdou


Are the dynamics that underlie commons-based peer production in materially deprived societies the same as those at work in affluent settings? This article contributes to the debate on open development and commons-based peer production by drawing on an in-depth case study of Map Kibera, a popular citizen engagement and citizen mapping project in Nairobi, Kenya. Combining insights from the literature on peer production and participatory development, this examination of the empirical findings focuses on three dimensions of information co-creation: participant motivations, the relationship between product-oriented versus process-oriented views of participation, and the governance of localized global public goods in economically resource-poor settings. This article provides a basis for greater conceptual clarity regarding the dynamics of open development in poor communities and a reconsideration of the appropriateness of a value-driven framework of commons-based peer production in materially deprived settings.


open development; development participation;commons based peer production;resource poor communities

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