The Bartlett School of Architecture


Abril Herrera



Internet and Urban Media for Social Neighbourhoods: Broadband in Rural Villages of Cornwall


Primary supervisor: Ava Fatah gen. Schieck
Secondary supervisor: Professor Alan Penn 

Starting date: April 2014




My research study assesses to identify how the implementation of Internet broadband access distresses the everyday social lives of the residents of rural neighbourhoods in Cornwall.
For that purpose, the study seeks to comprehend the ways in which village dwellers interact in their locality, physically and mediated through the implementation of communication and information technological devices. This will allow to explain if Internet-based technologies are generating adjustments in the patterns of social cohesion and sense of belonging of the residents of rural villages in Cornwell.

The overall objective of the project explores the way in which broadband infrastructure access achieve socio-cultural and spatial changes in the everyday social life of individuals and collectivities from rural neighbourhoods of Cornwall. To meet this overall objective it is proposed to:

1.    Identify the patterns of social connections at neighbourhood places.
2.    Discover how people operate within offline and online social networks and explore how all this might relate to the places in which they choose to enact social behaviour. 
3.    Address the impact of accessibility to broadband on how people interact and use public / semi-public spaces, and the consequential effects of this on social inclusion.


Abril is an academic and researcher in contemporary socio-cultural change; she commenced a PhD at the Bartlett School of Graduated Studies, University College London (2014). Her current research project intend to identify and understand how the implementation of broadband access can affect the everyday social life and the interaction with the symbolic and physical living space of the residents of rural neighbourhoods in Cornwall. For that purpose, she is proposing to map the different kind of virtual and physical relationships between village dwellers and analyse the social networks that they are capable to build in relation with their neighbourhood and their community to finally, explain if there are modifications in the patterns of social cohesion and sense of belonging through the usage of Internet-mediated communication.

She graduated with Honours in Political Sciences from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (2010) with the thesis “Technological Paradigm: New Society and New Politics on the Internet?” During her degree she became interested in the different structures that regulate social and political Internet mediated participation, their principles and research tools that allow explaining new social dynamics of interaction. Her academic records also include a Pg. Dip. in Electronic Democracy and Citizen Participation from the Universitat de Girona (2007) and a M. A. in Cultural Studies from El Colegio de la Frontera Norte (2012) where she worked on the dissertation “Internet and Civil Society Organizations in Mexico: New Scenarios for Social and Political Participation” an empiric study that exemplify the different scenarios and methodologies needed to explain new social and political participation through social media. 

From 2006 to 2008 she worked as a Teaching Fellow for the Centre of Political Studies at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, on the courses Methodologies for Political Research and Groups of Power and Political Negotiation from the major in Political Sciences. Later, from 2013 to 2014 she became adjunct professor of the courses Professional Practices for Social Sciences, Psychosocial Theories of Conflict and History of Culture in Mexico for the School of Psychology at the Autonomous University of Morelos. She has been visiting student at the University of Helsinki (2005), Georgia Tech (2008), San Diego State University (2011) and Brown University (2013) working under the topic of digital empowerment. 

Publications and other work

Herrera, Abril & De Alba, Felipe. (2012) "Cómo la era digital es una posibilidades para la movilización política?". In De Alba, Felipe; Gallegos, Carlos y Hauman, Elías (Coords.). Las ciencias sociales frente a los problemas emergentes: ¿Cómo analizarlos?, Barcelona, Spain. Collegium de Lyon, FCPyS-UNAM y UAM-Azcapotzalco. Pp. 74-90. ISBN 978-84-686-0437-4.

Herrera, Abril. (2012) "Posibilidades de movilización política en la era digital". In various authors, Estudios Culturales: Territorios Encontrados, Mexico City, Mexico. Division of Social Sciences and Humanities of the UAM-Azcapotzalco. Pp. 272-285. ISBN 978-607-477-674-4.

Herrera, Abril; Mendoza, Betzabé & Valverde, Karla. (2008) “Aprendizaje recíproco y participativo. Una estrategia metodológica para la formación de científicos sociales”. In various Authors, Memorias. Primer Foro Internacional: Enseñar y Aprender en Ciencias Políticas y Sociales. Retos y Perspectivas de la Educación Abierta y a Distancia. Vol. IV, Estrategias de Enseñanza Aprendizaje. Mexico City, Mexico. FCPyS-UNAM. ISBN 978-970-9066-74-8.

Herrera, Abril; Mendoza, Betzabé & Valverde, Karla. (2008) “Aprendizaje recíproco y participativo. Una estrategia metodológica para la formación de científicos sociales”. Solórzano Marcial, Carmen & Valverde Viesca, Karla (Comps.). Estrategias de Enseñanza en Ciencias Sociales: una aproximación desde la perspectiva docente. Mexico City, Mexico. FCPyS, UNAM, Ed. Gernika. Pp.159-173. ISBN 978-970-637-171-3.

Herrera, Abril & Valverde, Karla. (2006) “El uso de la tecnología de la información y comunicaciones como un nuevo elemento de análisis social. La Internet como rizoma social”. Comp. Puga Espinosa, Cristina. Formación en Ciencias Sociales en México. Una Mirada desde las universidades del país. Mexico City, Mexico. ACCECISO. Pp. 131-145. ISBN 978-607-774-400-9.

From English to Spanish
Saskia Sassen. (2012) “Ciudades en la era global”. In various authors, Informe de las Ciencias Sociales en el Mundo. Las Brechas del Conocimiento. Mexico City, Mexico. Foro Consultivo Científico y Tecnológico, A.C. Pp.27-31. ISBN 978-92-3-104131-0.