From Connectivity to Community was written to help communities – including the small-to-midsize ones that make up the majority – develop the broadband and digital assets that the modern economy demands and turn them into inclusive prosperity and social and cultural growth. It is written for community leaders in local governments and regional districts . . . for members of legislatures, educators, technology providers, business leaders, agencies, economic development and regional planning organizations . . . for people who care deeply about the future of the place called home and are willing to take action to make it a dynamic and successful one.
Growth in your local economy, in the social richness of your community and in its traditions and culture are the things that make a community worth living in. It is what attracts outsiders to settle there, what keeps people and employers from moving away, and what makes possible every other thing we love about the place called home. Today those things are under siege all over the world from massive waves of change in the economy, in society and in culture generated – as undersea earthquakes generate tidal waves – by technology change. This book is your guide to a new approach to economic development that will enable your community to adapt, survive and thrive amid the storm.
If you are looking for advice on becoming a Smart City, you will find some of that here. But Smart City stuff is, frankly, just tinkering around the edges of the big, hairy, inescapable challenges of our time. Mastering a few technology tricks to make your municipality or county run better is good. But it is not going to change lives for the better. It will not create employment or drive inclusive growth. It will not keep the brightest youth from leaving town for greener pastures. It will not give birth to the next generation of employers or ensure that your people have the skills needed to work for them. You may start your journey with a Smart City project, but we hope you will notch up much greater achievements before the end.