Connect the Whole Community: Leadership Gaps Drive the Digital Divide and Fuel Disaster and Social Vulnerabilities
Catherine J.K. Sandoval and Patrick Lanthier, Connect the Whole Community; Leadership Gaps Drive Disaster Vulnerability and the Digital Divide in TECHNOLOGY VS GOVERNMENT: THE IRRESISTIBLE FORCE MEETS THE IMMOVABLE OBJECT (Emerald Pub., Lloyd Levine, Ed.) (Forthcoming, 2021).
27 Pages Posted: 16 Jan 2021
Date Written: January 14, 2021
This chapter analyzes the link between the digital divide, infrastructure regulation, and disaster planning and relief through a case study of the flood in San Jose, California triggered by the Anderson dam’s overtopping in February 2017 and examination of communications failures during the 2018 wildfire in Paradise, California. This chapter theorizes that regulatory decisions construct social and disaster vulnerability. Rooted in the Whole Community approach to disaster planning and relief espoused by the United Nations and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, this chapter calls for leadership to end the digital divide. It highlights the imperative of understanding community information needs and argues for linking strategies to close the digital divide with infrastructure and emergency planning. As the Internet’s integration into society increases, the digital divide diminishes access to societal resources including disaster aid, and exacerbates wildfire, flood, pandemic, and other risks. To mitigate climate change, climate-induced disaster, protect access to social services and the economy, and safeguard democracy, it argues for digital inclusion strategies as a centerpiece of community-centered infrastructure regulation and disaster relief.
Keywords: Internet, Digital divide, Infrastructure Regulation, Whole Community, Vulnerability Science, Community Information Needs, Leadership, Decision-making, Disaster Planning, Disaster Response
JEL Classification: H1, H11, H12, H41, H44, H54, R52, R53, Z18
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation