Digital Equity


Examining the Impact of Short-Term Rentals on Housing Prices in Washington, DC: Implications for Housing Policy and Equity - Housing Policy Debate

Author: Zhenpeng Zou, Department of Urban Studies and Planning, School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, University of Maryland

New research from the University of Maryland suggests that having Airbnb establishments in Washington D.C. neighborhoods significantly inflates local property prices - possibly placing a disproportionate burden on low-income homebuyers. While Connected Communities approaches aim to leverage technology to improve lives for residents, challenges persist at the intersection of communities, business, and evolving technology. Read/listen to the NPR story here    |  View the original research here


Toward Engaged, Equitable, and Smart Communities: Lessons From West BaltimoreHousing Policy Debate

Authors: Willow Lung-Amam, Ariel H. Bierbaum, Sheri Parks, Gerrit-Jan Knaap, Gail Sunderman & Lauren Stamm

Smart city investments are happening in many cities around the United States. All too often, however, smart city interventions are solutions in search of problems, rather than solutions that seek to meet the needs of cities and their most vulnerable residents.

This study authored by Smart Cities Initiative contributors asks how the engagement of communities can help to improve smart city investments that aim to address the needs and concerns of low-income communities of color. Through focus groups and surveys in West Baltimore, Maryland, the research showed how smart city technologies can aid residents in navigating uneven regional geographies of opportunity, addressing the existing digital divide, and developing plans that leverage their creative problem-solving capacities and existing uses of technology to address critical community needs and priorities. The study reveals how engaging communities at the front end of planning switches the focus away from technology-driven solutions to more equitable, community-centered, and place-based smart city plans and investments.


LEGISLATION TO WATCH: Digital Equity Act of 2019 (HR4486)   [EXCERPT]:

“A broadband connection and digital literacy are increasingly critical to how individuals participate in the society, economy, and civic institutions; access health care and essential services; obtain education; and build careers. Digital exclusion carries a high societal and economic cost; materially harms the opportunity of an individual with respect to the economic success, educational achievement, positive health outcomes, social inclusion, and civic engagement… and exacerbates existing wealth and income gaps…

“Achieving digital equity for all people of the United States requires additional and sustained investment and research efforts. The Federal Government… [has] made social, legal, and economic obligations that necessarily extend to how the citizens… access and use the internet…

"Achieving digital equity is a matter of social and economic justice and is worth pursuing.”