Rural and Urban focuses

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Rural and Urban focuses

Ian Bicking
In the reading I've been doing on OLPC, I've noticed a strong focus on
rural children, but I expect there will be lots and lots of urban
children; Egypt and China are about 40% urban, Nigeria about 50%, Brazil
over 80%, Argentina about 90%.  Thailand just 30%.  (From:
http://globalis.gvu.unu.edu/indicator_detail.cfm?country=CN&indicatorid=30)

Children in rural villages are an important demographic, but children in
urban areas look to be just as common.  But I've noticed they aren't
part of the OLPC narrative.  I thought I'd bring this up, because I've
noticed some of my own thinking in the last couple days has been along
the lines of a nice hierarchy, where there's a many-to-one relationship
of students to school, and a clean peer relationship of students to each
other.  But in an urban environment it will be much more mixed;
frequently the nearest school to home won't be the school the child
actually attends, and the social peer group and geographical peer group
won't be quite the same.  Relying on physical proximity -- which seems
to be part of the mesh concept -- may include more or less peers than
desired.

Anyway, I just wanted to mention this, to be careful that OLPC doesn't
focus only on the more romantic and appealing rural demographic.


Another thing that has occurred to me as a possible issue is bandwidth
theft.  Has there been any discussion on that?  I think initially the
somewhat novel wireless protocol will help, though potentially any
laptop could become a gateway.  And I'm not sure if it's even much of a
problem if other people use the bandwidth -- I feel a little funny
calling it "theft", maybe because of how that word is used by some
corporations.  As long as people aren't setting up OLPC-based internet
cafes, it might not be enough of a problem to even worry about.
Especially since it is so hard to detect.

--
Ian Bicking | [hidden email] | http://blog.ianbicking.org