NEIGHBORHOOD NOTES | Minneapolis residents explore “digital divide”


After a political lull – and a sea change in telecommunications technology – cable is back on the pubic agenda. While the city is raising questions about fiscal matters, the community at large is absorbing the results of a major survey of cable development, a detailed and close-up view of awareness, access, applications for Minneapolis residents.

In the next two weeks the city will be holding public meetings on the survey results at sites throughout the city. Residents in Northeast will gather on Wednesday, June 13, 3:30-5:00 p.m. at the Northeast Library, 2200 Central Northeast, to learn and share their thoughts. The community will explore the survey results as a community, generate ideas and actions to make the most of community technology resources, and share experience and build relationships to bridge the perceived “digital divide.”

Other public meetings will be held throughout the city: There are meetings on Monday 18, 6:30-8:00 p.m. at McRae Park, 906 42nd Street East, Tuesday, June 19, 6:00=7:30 p.m. at North Regional Library, 1315 Lowry Avenue North, and Wednesday, June 27, 4:30-6:00 p.m. at Waite House-Phillips Community Center, 2323 11th Avenue South.

Impetus and funding for the Survey came from the Minneapolis Foundation Digital Inclusion Fund. The goal of the study was to explore and to increase technology access and skills among non-traditional users of technology including people with disabilities, people of color, low-income individuals, new immigrants, displayed workers, seniors and others.

The full report of the community technology survey results is available online.

A key feature of the report is a comprehensive interactive digital map depicting the state of cable access city-wide and by neighborhood. Survey data were aggregated around 32 neighborhood clusters to allow community members to see specific opportunities within their geographic area.

Some essential findings include these:

  • While 82% of City households overall have a computer with Internet access, only 57% of Phillips and 65% of Near North residents have access at home. 25% of African Americans reported they have no Internet access at home.
  • Too many residents do not feel comfortable finding and applying for jobs online.
  • Residents are not comfortable attaining education online.
  • Residents aged 55 and older are least likely to be computer and Internet users.
  • The Internet is not being used often by residents to find community resources, engage in civic activities or communicate with government.
  • Residents are not seeking health information line.
  • Residents do not feel they know enough to deal with cyber security issues.
  • Most residents are not aware of the city’s WiFi network.

For more information about the Survey contact: Elise Ebhardt, Information Technology, 612-673-2026

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