It’s a universal problem: Where can I charge my cell phone?
We use our cell phones to manage our day-to-day lives and, often our lives are on the go. So, when our cell phone battery runs out, we lose a key tool to navigate the modern world.
As part of #SmartRussell, Louisville Metro’s Office of Civic Innovation & Technology is building a public Wi-Fi network in the Russell neighborhood, and early in our community conversations about the project we heard that exact question: “Where can I charge my cell phone?”
We needed a solution inexpensive enough to widely deploy, but rugged enough to survive heavy usage and the elements. There weren’t any available commercial solutions, so we turned to FirstBuild and the Russell community itself to help us co-create a new solution to this universal problem. …
You don’t have to try hard to find the hot new transportation innovation. It’s on your social media feed, it’s on the news, and, most glaringly, it’s on your streets. Disruptive transportation technologies are the norm, not the exception these days. And, the challenging thing about them: no one, not even the companies building them, know all the ways their product will change the way our cities work. Or, if they do, they don’t do a great job sharing, educating or working with local governments.
At Louisville Metro, our cross-functional Mobility Innovation Team (MIT) to provides a forum for local transportation agencies, both in and out of Metro, to learn about and start to prepare for the innovations we see coming and the ones that get dropped on us. Local practitioners and national experts share first-hand experience and knowledge about the newest transportation developments on topics such as Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS), electric vehicles & scooters, ridesharing, Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CAV), and so forth. The forum provides a physical place to learn, discuss and debate how new technologies will impact Louisville Metro’s transportation ecosystem. And, when appropriate, the MIT will take on projects to incorporate innovations into our local mobility system. …
NOTE: In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have shifted more funding to this project.
Residents of the Russell Neighborhood experience the consequences of the digital divide firsthand. Based on FCC data, up to 80% do not have a home internet connection. A lack of connectivity at home prevents kids from doing homework, adults from finding employment and even families from getting access to government services. Life is moving online and if you don’t have connection at home, you are at a disadvantage.
The Vision Russell Transformation Plan identifies the lack of connectivity to information as a barrier for the neighborhood. With that in mind, Louisville Metro is building a public Wi-Fi network in the Russell neighborhood to provide basic internet access to residents. We do not think this solves the digital divide in Russell, but we do think it’s important to have a multi-prong approach. This network will connect Russell residents and visitors to relevant information about their community and opportunities to improve their lives and neighborhood. …
Smart Russell is our first multi-faceted Smart City initiative. This gives us the opportunity to learn how residents feel about our Smart City work when new technology is planned for their neighborhood, not just when it is theoretical. Since July, we have talked with Russell stakeholders about the project including residents, elected officials, community leaders, and the neighborhood association. We engaged in direct two-way conversations about the project: what it is, what it is not, and learned where we could improve it.
Russell Neighborhood is on the rise.
Several major property developments are in the works, and it is just the beginning. Among the promising developments for the neighborhood is the selection of Russell as the winner of the HUD Choice Neighborhood grant. The $30 million HUD grant will replace the Beecher Terrace housing development with a mixed-use community and make investments in the infrastructure of the community.
As we look to future of the Russell, we want to make sure Russell doesn’t just catch up, it sets the bar for other neighborhoods in our city. This means we need to make investments in infrastructure of tomorrow namely civic technology. The digital divide spans not only the lack of home internet access and computers, but also related to the digital infrastructure in a community including things like fiber optic cable. …
Below are the ideas that came out of our Design Jam with IxDA Louisville. If you are interested to learn more about the Design Jam process or our Digital Inclusion work in Louisville, check out Part 1 of this series.
Future posts will document how we have taken these ideas and turned them into results for Louisville and the digital inclusion community nationally.
The ideas are presented in a uniform format. Here is a quick rundown of the format:
This is a multi-part series to document the process, ideas, and results of our Digital Inclusion Design Jam with IxDA Louisville.
Part 1 goes into detail what we did and the research insights we uncovered leading up to the Design Jam.
Subsequent posts will talk about what we do with the research and ideas, and how that impacted digital inclusion in Louisville.
At Louisville Metro Government, we have been working hard to close the digital divide in Louisville. …
As a country, we need to do a better job mapping broadband availability and speeds. Local policy makers and digital inclusion champions need this information to make decisions about where to focus their efforts and where additional broadband infrastructure should be built. Furthermore, they need to understand what paying customers are actually getting for their money. Right now, FCC 477 data is the best resource available, but it doesn’t provide a clear picture about what is actually available in certain neighborhoods and it definitely doesn’t provide on-the-ground truth about the actual broadband speeds customers receive.
I am here today to tell you we’ve built something that can provide your community with more accurate broadband data. Working with our civic tech and startup communities, Louisville Metro created an open-source solution called SpeedUp (see: SpeedUpLouisville.com) for you to see the actual speeds that residents are receiving at a census tract level. And, Tech Oregon is about to take on the task of building it for the whole country! …
Around the world, there has been a discussion about the “Smart City”. What it is, what it isn’t, and what it could be. The reality is the idea of a Smart City will be different in each community, and that to build a truly smart city, it will take lots of conversations with a variety of stakeholders. In Louisville Metro Government, we have batted around our ideas on the subject for a while, but we had not taken our thoughts to or heard from our community about what they want from their Smart City.
This September, we changed that at the PNC Gigabit Experience Center in the Russell Neighborhood. We had over 150 attendees for a day-long session that both shared information about Smart City best practices from around the world and learned directly from our government employees and the community how they thought Smart City concepts could best be applied to our local challenges. …
After internal deliberation and public comment period, Louisville Metro’s Office of Civic Innovation and Develop Louisville have released the Autonomous Vehicle Playbook to start preparing the Louisville area for this innovative technology.
Though Louisville may not see widespread adoption of AVs for several years, it is important that the city initiates a conversation now on transportation values and provides an initial framework by which we can better understand the advantages and potential pitfalls of this new technology.
While projections of how, and how quickly, the technology will be adopted are still being studied, AVs are expected to have a dramatic impact on how people and goods move to, from, and around our nation. In anticipation of that, Louisville Metro created a policy framework that prepares for this technology while ensuring that mobility is enhanced in an equitable manner for all of Louisville’s residents. …