As this reporter conducted a Zoom interview from his South Shore home with University of Chicago computer science professor Nick Feamster, the internet connection failed and the call dropped.
Stories like this abound in Chicago’s neglected neighborhoods, where residents struggle to maintain a quality internet connection as they work, study and play from home — or where they lack high-speed internet entirely, Feamster said.
That has motivated Feamster and fellow UChicago professor Nicole Marwell to lead a team of researchers working to turn residents’ anecdotes about their internet issues into “an arsenal of data” to better address the city’s digital divides.
Starting with a pilot phase in South Shore, Englewood, and North Lawndale, the project will use the data to create detailed maps and informational dashboards.
The team will work to determine what solutions are possible for overcoming Chicago’s digital divides — and which are most feasible given the city’s tech infrastructure, political climate and other factors.
(Photo by Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago)