Building Our Own Bridges: How a Distressed Urban Neighborhood Bridges the Digital Divide
40 Pages Posted: 31 Dec 2019 Last revised: 7 May 2020
Date Written: July 26, 2019
Prior research on digital divides and inequalities demonstrates that those who have multiple Internet access points engage in broader and more capital-enhancing online uses (Dutton & Blank, 2013, 2014; Zillien & Hargittai, 2009). These capital-enhancing uses, in turn, can serve as one mechanism to help narrow socio-economic inequities in distressed communities. This paper examines highly distressed urban communities in the city of Detroit, Michigan. Based on 525 telephone surveys of Detroit residents, this study uses a path modeling approach to examine the relationship between socio-economic variables, attitudes toward the internet, different points of access and devices, and different types of capital-enhancing Internet uses, such as e-commerce, looking for health information, reading the news and job seeking. By building on studies that identify the impact of access points on social capital and understanding online behavior as it relates to different types of devices, such as desktops, laptops, and mobile phones, policy makers can take steps to narrow digital divides.
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation