Creating Opportunities to Address the Rural-Urban Gap
Karen Lightman, Metro21 Executive Director, was featured as an "Expert Voice" in Axios sharing her expertise on how urban-rural partnerships are spreading resources beyond city centers and why it matters. The rural-urban divide, particularly with regard to broadband access, boils down to a mismatch in where resources are allocated, and these programs strive to distribute resources beyond urban cores.
According to the Brookings Institute, only 18% of Americans live in neighborhoods where 80% or more of the households have high-speed broadband.
Many organizations are working to combat this issue and provide everyone equal access to high-speed broadband. For example, The Rural Virginia Initiative is a collaboration between several Virginia colleges and universities to bolster attention and resources for issues like health and health care, job creation, and education in rural parts of the state.
Lightman highlighted a Metro21 project focused on a partnership between Carnegie Mellon University and Waynesburg University. The universities are collaborating to develop tech-driven interventions to address food insecurity and mobility in nearby rural areas.
Moving into the world of smart cities, equal access to high-speed broadband becomes extremely important. Expanded access to high speed Internet generates major economic growth and rapid job creation. High speed connections accelerate business development by providing new opportunities for innovation, expansion, and e-commerce.
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