Heather Heater

I agree with Christopher. One of my main concerns with the trend of gov2.0, open government, etc. is that communities that have been historically underrepresented in government (or systematically ignored) are also those who are less likely to have access to broadband at home, to go online, or to have access to a smart phone or other internet enabled cell phone.

I also agree with Christopher on his second point, that most government websites (including my local city and county government) are only available in English. Those that do offer a second language option usually provide Spanish-language only. While it’s true that the population of Spanish-speaking Latinos in the U.S. is growing, there are many Latinos that don’t speak Spanish as their native language (and may not even identify as Latino, but indigenous). But what about Asian-Pacific, First Nation, and African communities?

I’m certainly an early adopter and I believe in the power of these technologies to promote democratic participation in urban and public health planning, policy, and shared accountability for health and equity. However, we do not currently have the IT infrastructure to make that participation equitable. Thus, before we put all our eggs in one basket, we need to drastically improve how government currently engages undeserved communities and build upon those successes to address the issue of IT access as one of health and social equity.