Emily Chow ’08, a student at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, has been awarded an Eric Lund Global Reporting and Research grant to study the effects of connectivity in the Virtual Village in Arabianranta, a section of Helsinki, Finland. The award is given to projects conducted on underreported areas. The goal of the grant is to enable a Medill student to conduct a study of his or her choice and attempt to publish the resultant report.
The Virtual Village is a community that values hyperconnectivity through technology. This means that the citizens have constant access to the Internet and are using applications, like live check in applications that report a user’s location, to increase their connection to one another. Chow went to study the community and see what the social effects of this connectivity were.
Along the way, Chow and her research partner traveled to the Aalto University Design Factory and collaborated with students from the Laurea University of Applied Sciences as they worked with senior citizens; the goal was to improve their standards of living from their own homes by using e-welfare packages which provided entertainment and health services virtually. Chow says, “Innovation in technology and product engineering is simply a way of life in Helsinki.”