Access to Technology

Pattern number within this pattern set: 
Group Name: 
Urban Gardening
Peter Lyle
Queensland University of Technology
Marcus Foth
Queensland University of Technology
Jaz Hee-jeong Choi
Queensland University of Technology

Gardeners can come from any background, and as such have a wide variety of access to existing technology. Access to technology refers to whether an audience has a particular gadget or service, and their ability or willingness to use it as part of gardening practice.


This problem applies to individuals and communities, whenever the intent is to design interactive technology. The context varies depending on the available resources of a community, and the target demographic of design.


When designing for a known person or group, infrastructure and access to technology may be prescribed. Typically the context must be understood in order to know what is suitable. For example Australia has a high level of smartphone market penetration, and if targeting residential gardens, there are a likelihood of highcspeed Internet access. This would allow for the use of rich media and high levels of interconnectivity.

Communities on the other hand, such as Northey Street City Farm or Permablitz Brisbane, are limited in time and money to invest in additional technology or infrastructure. In these instances it is important to understand what technology community members already use or what infrastructure is already in place, and how is it currently used. With this understanding, the ability to repurpose, or make use of technology as part of a design, will become clear. Understanding the role technology plays in the lives of gardeners, and when they have access to technology, will result in a more inclusive design (Heitlinger et al., 2013).


Designers need to consider: the existing infrastructure; time and money to invest in new technology; and attitudes of gardeners to different technologies, and incorporate these preferences accordingly.