PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY ›› 2017, Vol. 36 ›› Issue (7): 785-794.doi: 10.18306/dlkxjz.2017.07.001

• Orginal Article •     Next Articles

Use of community networks and its impact on community participation: A case study of Nanjing City

Enyu CHANG1(), Feng ZHEN1,2,*(), Chen SUN1   

  1. 1. School of Architecture and Urban Planning, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210093, China
    2. Human Geography Research Center of Nanjing University, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210093, China
  • Received:2016-08-01 Revised:2017-02-01 Online:2017-07-31 Published:2017-07-31
  • Contact: Feng ZHEN;
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.41571146]


In the 1970s, the United States launched a large number of practices and research focusing on "community network" in community informatics area. In recent years, with the rapid penetrating of information and communication technology in the daily life of community residents, virtual network platforms based on the community entity also appear in large numbers in urban communities of China, which brings an opportunity to improve community participation of urban residents. However, research by Chinese scholars rarely concerned with community networks, especially that quantitative research in this area has been few. Under this background and taking into consideration the practice of community networks in China, this study analyzed the characteristics of community network use and community participation of residents in Nanjing City based on a sample survey. Furthermore, the study used multiple-linear regression method to investigate the factors influencing community participation. The survey was conducted in 35 communities of Nanjing City by a research group at Nanjing University. The results show that overall community network use was characterized by high popularity and low intensity. Although the average coverage of community network use of Nanjing residents was high, the intensity of use only remained at the "occasional use" level. Most users were from newly built communities. As for the usage type of community networks, "mobile Internet" was most popular among the residents, and community QQ/WeChat groups showed the highest use intensity, followed by community Official Accounts/APPs, and community websites/community forums had the lowest use intensity. With regard to community "O2O", community participation was significantly promoted by using community networks. The use of community networks will enhance the depth of participation by promoting transaction type community participation. This article proposes that smart community development should compensate for the lack of attention to community networks and community involvement, and facilitate a return to community public life through participation in community activities that increases the vitality of communities.

Key words: urban community, community participation, community network, smart community, community “O2O”, Nanjing City