Cities such as Seattle; Portland, Ore.; Austin; Kansas City, Mo.; and Louisville, Ky., have laid out official digital inclusion strategies and forward-thinking plans, and many other cities now have appointees or departments dedicated to the issue.
Local governments are leading the way to implement innovative, forward-looking civic technology programs that narrow the digital divide and make cities more livable. But for all the impressive initiatives out there, many brilliant ideas never get off the ground for lack of resources. So last year, with support from the Democracy Fund and Benton Foundation, Next Century Cities launched the Charles Benton Next Generation Engagement Award. The competitive civic innovation prize invited cities to propose out-of-the-box solutions to local challenges.
The Next Century Cities team was thrilled to showcase its Benton Next Generation Engagement Award winners at the Broadband Communities Summit in Dallas, Texas yesterday. The early morning hour – we took the stage at 8am – couldn’t keep a crowd away to hear from our inaugural Benton grantees. Representatives from Austin, Texas, Raleigh, North Carolina, and Louisville, Kentucky presented their progress implementing their projects.