Communities nationwide are getting creative strategies to foster digital inclusion and promote competitive broadband access. From eliminating the digital divide in Davidson, NC, to facilitating pole-access in Lexington, KY, Next Century Cities members see the economic and community development value of broadband connectivity.
But what are the democratic dividends? How can communities harness broadband access to make cities more responsive – and self-governance more real? Can high-speed connectivity improve citizen participation in city council hearings? Planning more participatory?
Some cities devolve part of the budgeting process to the community. Boston, Mass., for example, allows the city’s youth to allocate $1 million on city projects that meet local needs – that’s member of the community identifying and addressing their own priorities. Could technology make that process even more empowering?
Our Next Generation Engagement Awards will reward creative thinking on using broadband to tackle local challenges. Cities can propose a new project or partnership, and we will grant winning cities up to $30,000 each to make their plans a reality.
Cities large and small are encouraged to apply. We’ll work with the winners to implement their programs and achieve success. Apply here. The deadline is June 15th.