Digital Divide, Equity
The City of San Leandro will be working with Shalini Gopalkrishnan, Visiting Professor, at Menlo College to study the digital divide in San Leandro. Employing both qualitative and quantitative methods, Dr. Gopalkrishnan will study four facets of digital inclusion: Advocacy and Awareness, Internet Access, Devices, and Digital Skills. The research will inform the city’s efforts in increasing the efficacy of its existing broadband network. As a resident of San Leandro with prolific engagements (volunteering, partaking in initiatives, teaching, etc.), Dr. Gopalkrishnan is excited about the opportunity to bring aboard her fellow San Leandro community members to the project. Read more of Dr. Gopalkrishnan’s work here: https://www.menlo.edu/academics/faculty-directory/shalini-gopalkrishnan/
The City of San Leandro has invested significant resources in recent years in Public Wi-Fi and broadband infrastructure. During the same period, through partnerships with local nonprofits and the launch of a hotspot lending program at its Main Library, the City has also sought to address issues of digital inclusion, which includes access to broadband, hardware, and training for digital literacy skills. The impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have exacerbated the digital need with the shift to distance learning for students, teleworking, and many events and services being delivered online.
In the 16 week window of the STIR Labs program, the City would like to:
Driving this research project would be the following questions:
Academic research teams will have access to:
In addition to the above, academic teams can leverage the City of San Leandro's Fiber Optic Master Plan & Smart City Strategy report which was published in 2018 detailed the gaps in access to broadband and computers in homes. The report highlighted the digital divide across income levels.
The IT department seeks a research team collaboration with the following outcomes: