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Project overview for completed projects

Course Title:  Bartlett School of Energy, Environment & Resources

Dissertation Title:  Care as futurity, Commons and Heritage: potentials and challenges of blockchain-based Distributed Autonomous Organisations for the self-governance of sustainable communities

Community Partner:  The Highgate Society

Academic Supervisor:  Richard Sandford

Research Abstract:  The present article follows the claims for participatory empirical research to investigate both:

  1. Heritage as a future-oriented process of care led by communities in their specific and contingent assemblages, which could prompt insights on collective action and community organisation; and
  2. The usage of blockchain-based Distributed Autonomous Organisations (DAOs) for the governance of commons through the engagement with Foresight to anticipate the implications of this kind of system adoption.

To do so, this research was co-produced with the Highgate Society, one of the UK's largest civic amenity societies. Selected members of the organisation's Sustainable Living Group were invited to participate in this research, sharing their experiences installing renewable energy systems and then engaging with a proposed speculative scenario and the blockchain-based DAO system's hypothetical features.

Conclusions to be confirmed:  I conclude that the offered narrative that led to the constitution of a blockchain-based DAO to manage an integrated community energy system, set in the future Highgate, might not have disrupted enough the current landscape of centralised coordination, cohesion, and trust, in the participants' vision. For this reason, the proposed system might not have looked so distant from the present moment or presented clear advantages.

Idea for research
Idea for research
Research into the views of non active members and the wider market of potential members. We want to understand what the community thinks of us and where and how we may need to change.
Impact of idea
We are a voluntary organisation with about 1,200 members in Highgate and run by around 100 active members, many of whom are recently retired because this age group has the time and still has energy. However, this leaves around 1,100 members who are not active as volunteers though they may attend some of our events. There is an estimated target market of around 12,000 to 15,000 residents in Highgate who could be eligible for membership.

Members who are not volunteers are important because all members pay an annual membership fee and the income sustains our organisation. The number of members has drifted down over the last decade by around 10% to 20%. We want to understand what are non active members and target market knows and thinks about the Highgate Society, what they do or don't value and how we need to change to maintain our relevance.
Although various faculties and departments have been selected, many other backgrounds could be relevant for candidates who with an aptitude and interest in the research outlined.

If you have any existing data or information you would like included in a project, please tell us what kind of data these are

Application process
Application criteria
Good interpersonal skills and a willingness to engage with a range of age groups and backgrounds with open minded curiosity. Some data analysis skills would be useful. report writing skills and powerpoint or similar. No particular experience is necessary.
Is this project fully accessible to students with the disabilities?
Disabilities information
The Society's hall is accessible. Further discussion would be needed as suitability would depend on the nature of disabilities.