In this White Paper – “Why Smart Communities Need Digital Inclusion”, NDIA reviews what the term smart communities entail and how local government leaders are cementing divides if they fail to include strategies for digital inclusion and digital equity in their smart community plans. While there is a common misconception that the digital divide is a rural problem, three-fourths of the twenty million American households who still lack home broadband or mobile data connections live in urbanized areas, not in remote rural regions; and they are very likely low-income. There is still an urban digital divide and smart communities could make it worse.
The solution to the urban digital divide is digital inclusion. Smart cities could embrace digital inclusion and make it happen. Digital inclusion should be part of every region’s smart community strategy. Fortunately, there are a few communities that have been smart enough to recognize that. NDIA reviews what these cities have done to bridge the divide in their region and provide some practical steps for other cities to follow.
Developed with guidance from the NDIA Smart Inclusive Cities Working Group:
– Clayton Banks, Silicon Harlem
– Ed Blayney, City of Louisville
– Catherine Crago, Housing Authority of City of Austin
– Rebecca Gibbons, City of Portland
– John Horrigan, Consultant
– Geoff Millener, The Enterprise Center (Chattanooga TN)
– Jonathan Moore, Rowdy Orbit
– Devren Washington, Media Mobilizing Project (Philadelphia)
– Olivia Wein, National Consumer Law Center