Handbook of Urban Geography
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Handbook of Urban Geography

Edited by Tim Schwanen and Ronald van Kempen

This collection brings together the latest thinking in urban geography. It provides a comprehensive overview of topical issues and draws on experiences from across the world. Chapters have been prepared by leading researchers in the field and cover themes as diverse as urban economies, inequalities and diversity, conflicts and politics, ecology and sustainability, and information technologies. The Handbook offers a valuable resource for students and researchers interested in cities and the urban in geography and across the wider social sciences.
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Chapter 20: Urban informatics and e-governance

Barney Warf

Abstract

Information technologies play a central role in the reconstruction of urban space. The ability to acquire, process, and transmit vast quantities of information has become central to urban competitiveness and individual social mobility. Given the digital divide, particularly in the US, access to the Internet has often worked against the poor, the elderly, and the politically disadvantaged as much as for them. The chapter examines the role of information technologies in urban governance from several angles. First it documents the digital divide empirically and summarizes major conceptual approaches. It then shifts to examine the roles of public schools, wireless Internet access, and telework. The third part focuses on electronic governance, or e-governance, the delivery of services over Internet. Finally, it turns to the impacts of Web 2.0, or interactive websites, which are having significant impacts on urban planning, allowing citizens more input and using information technologies toward their own ends.

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