Pathways to Citizen Engagement: Transforming Urban Communities through Public Technology Access

By Lindsey Keck and Andrew Buss.

Published by The Technology Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

How does technology impact a community-based organization and its service population? By offering technology access through public computer centers as a part of their core mission and programmatic offerings, individual organizations have successfully extended technology access to their most proximate clients. But how might a more comprehensive and coordinated web of computer centers shift the landscape of an economically challenged urban environment? The City of Philadelphia is engaged in a large-scale implementation of a comprehensive computer center network and technology training classes in underserved neighborhoods. Through this coordinated effort, which includes health and social service organizations, recreation centers, libraries, and universities, we increase organizational capacity and create a systematic, citywide effort to bridge the digital divide. This program is unique because its design is rooted in a dedicated group of collaborative stakeholders with an abiding commitment to digital literacy and skills. The authors will examine program structure, implementation strategy, and stakeholder participation, arguing that by leveraging human capital and technology resources we can transform communities.

Keywords: Public Technology Access, Program Design, Collaboration, Community-based Organizations

International Journal of Technology, Knowledge and Society, Volume 8, Issue 2, pp.135-142. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 264.833KB).

Lindsey Keck

Program Manager, Office of Innovation and Technology, City of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA, USA

Lindsey Keck is a program manager for the Office of Innovation and Technology in the City of Philadelphia, and is responsible for implementation and oversight of the Public Computer Center grant awarded to the City through the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act. Before beginning her tenure in city government, Lindsey worked in marketing and development roles for both large and small performing arts organizations. She is currently pursuing a Masters’ of Public Administration degree at Fels Institute of Government at the University of Pennsylvania.

Andrew Buss

Director of Innovation Management, Office of Innovation and Technology, City of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA, USA

Andrew Buss is the Director of Innovation Management for the Office of Innovation and Technology in Philadelphia. After beginning his post-graduate school career in the City’s housing office, he moved into information technology as a project manager, followed closely by roles in finance and procurement. In his current role managing public technology programs, Andrew has been responsible for a large scale implementation of technology-enabled community centers in Philadelphia and has also been closely involved with the Open Access Philly movement. Andrew earned a Masters’ Degree in Geography from Temple University and continues to teach there as an adjunct professor. He also writes and publishes papers about interdisciplinary teaching and civic collaboration.

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