HCC: Small: Socio-technical Issues in Mobile Time Banking

Project: Research project

Project Details


Time banking refers to community-based volunteering in which participants provide and receive services; for example, one neighbor might be a competent handyman, another has a heavy-duty pickup truck. Each can provide community service doing what he/she can do for other members. For this, they receive time credits that can be exchanged for other services, say, gardening. A community brokering entity, a time bank, keeps track of time credits earned and redeemed. Time banks have pervasive implications for conceptions of work, citizenship, volunteering, community engagement, and social inclusion. Time banking has spread rapidly in recent years throughout the world.

Current time banking focuses on asynchronous transactions. This project will incorporate mobile computing and Web 2.0 services to carry out a design research investigation of mobile time banking. The work will support finer grain, near-real time scheduling of neighborhood service exchanges. This approach allows many new time banking possibilities. For example, a child comes home from school with a headache. His mother posts a request, and a neighbor who is stopping at the local drug store anyway gets the aspirin.

Broader impacts: This project will fundamentally extend the concept of time banking, and support for time banking throughout the world, by directly extending current time banking infrastructures. It can provide domestic and community infrastructure to ease the busyness stresses of too many to-dos, while enhancing quality of life through improved health and sense of community. It can increase the visibility and valuing of informal quasi-work activities that are often devalued in money-based economies, and facilitate the transition from volunteer activity to paid work, a key policy strategy for reducing chronic unemployment. This project integrates education, research, and community service for student participants. The PIs will work with campus programs to ensure that a diversity of students is aware of our work.

Effective start/end date8/15/121/31/16


  • National Science Foundation: $529,553.00


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