Neighbourhoods, Households and Homes
Edited by Colin Mason, Darja Reuschke, Stephen Syrett and Maarten van Ham
Chapter 3: Neighbourhoods and the structure of society: implications for work and residence in the Internet Age
Neighbourhoods are an enduring part of the wider urban structure and behaviours within it. Those spatial structures are an important defining aspect of where we live and how we live, and, even as our behaviours change with emerging technology and opportunities, they are still central to our lives. Although entrepreneurial activity in residential neighbourhoods is relatively new, this chapter suggests how growing home-based businesses are probably elements of change in urban neighbourhoods. In particular it re-examines the work–residence relationship in the light of growing ‘work-at-home’ behaviour, which of course is intimately connected with the internet and its reach. The chapter argues that the creation of cheap and ubiquitous computing is in part fuelling the home-based industry growth. Just how deep and far the internet explosion is driving home-based businesses is as yet unclear, but there is no doubt that software development has revolutionised much of the entrepreneurial activity, including that which is apparent in home-based activities. The chapter draws on US Census data for metropolitan areas. It argues that neighbourhoods are the context within which we organise our work–residence relationships and that they are probably undergoing a new set of changes with the emergence of home-based entrepreneurial activity. Digital technology is changing the way we work and the likelihood of home-based entrepreneurial activity, even if it is only for a selected population.
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