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Networks are one essential element of the added values, innovations and identities generated by urban life. The IDEAN approach regards networks as a common good and seeks to provide the greatest maximum benefit for all. Social, infrastructure, and electronic networks, and
combinations of these, are another way to understand the collaboration of people, the exchange of goods, and the flows of information in a city. This includes ‚people as infrastructure‘ (Simone 2004) and informal operations in urban services. Moreover, fairly recently new electronic communication networks have produced enormous cultural, economic, and social opportunities on a world wide scale. A growing number of people are capable of accessing and exploiting the power of world wide knowledge and are able to team up with like-minded peers. The diffusion of mobile phones demonstrates how empowering access to new technologies can be: from the monitoring of elections in the hinterland of Nigeria, to the mobile payment of remittances in East Africa, to the facilitation of micro credit, entire segments can bypass the age of industrialisation and leapfrog into the information age. IDEAN strongly believes in the power of open networking as an essential component of sustainable development. It promotes education and media skills for the maximum number of people beyond the physical backbones of networks.