RS 1: Detroit

The article opens up with a contrasting viewpoint of Detroit’s majorly impoverished areas by mentioning the mass amount of “startups and luxury retailers” (Kang, paragraph 1) that are setting up shop in downtown Detroit. This comes directly after the city dealt with massive economic problems and unemployment for the majority of the recent past. Kang then goes onto mention that just six miles north of this upscale paradigm shift happening in downtown Detroit, there are majorly impoverished areas, such as Hope Village, Detroit who is still struggling to climb out of major economic/unemployment turmoil. Kang then highlights the profile of Eric Hill, an unemployed 42-year-old man with his only internet access being the one free hour at his local library. Mr. Hill’s economic situation leaves him without being able to afford a personal computer or Wi-Fi for the month (his expenses go directly to rent, food and transportation), which leaves him with few options to search the job market. Mr. Hill comments “Once I leave [the library), I worry that I’m missing an email, an opportunity” (Paragraph 4). Kang then goes onto state a statistic that “Detroit has the worst rate of Internet access of any big American city, with four in 10 of its 689,000 residents lacking broadband, according to the FCC.” (Paragraph 6). Economists state that this high rate of individuals lacking broadband internet is an “also a crucial — and underappreciated — factor” (Kang, paragraph 9) in regards to the exceptionally high unemployment rates in areas like Hope Village, which stand in the 40% range. Kang states: “The consequences appear in the daily grind of finding connectivity, with people unable to apply for jobs online, research new opportunities, connect with health insurance, get college financial aid or do homework.” (Kang, paragraph 9). Kang highlights these statistics by taking personal quotes from other unemployed persons in the Hope Village area and noting their lack of internet provides them with extra obstacles in their everyday life. Kang ends her article by looking towards the future and highlighting real efforts actively combating the digital divide. Nonprofits as well as the city are starting and funding initiatives to bring Wi-Fi and computers to those in need. However, providing Wi-Fi is only half the battle. “People require training on how to use technology, and they need computers or other devices.”, Kang notes (Kang, paragraph 13). “You can’t just provide access and say you’re done,” said Diana J. Nucera, director of the community technology project.

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