Bridging Urban Digital Divides? Urban Polarisation and Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs)

Bridging Urban Digital Divides? UrbanPolarisation and Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs)
Stephen Graham
[Paper Žrst received, November 2000; in Ž nal form, June 2001]
Summary. The societal diffusion of information and communications technologies (ICTs) remains starkly uneven at all scales. It is in the contemporary city that this unevenness becomes most visible. In cities, clusters and enclaves of ‘superconnected’ people, Ž rms and institutions often rest cheek-by-jowel with large numbers of people with non-existent or rudimentary access to communications technologies. In such a context, this paper has two objectives, re ected in its two parts. The Ž rst part of the paper seeks to demonstrate that dominant trends in ICT develop- ment are currently helping to support new extremes of social and geographical unevenness within and between human settlements and cities, in both the North and the South. The paper’s second part aims to explore the prospect that such stark ‘urban digital divides’ might be ameliorated through progressive and innovative policy initiatives which treat cities and electronic technologies in paralel. It does this using a range of ilustrative exemplars from a variety of contexts.

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