Where 2.0 workshop submission

Just submitted the following application for a 30-minute session for 2010’s Where 2.0 conference. Keep your fingers crossed.


Digital Segregation? How Offline Inequalities and Online Behavior Will Impact the Geospatial Web

As it grows beyond points of interest to include social networks and user-generated content, the Geospatial Web  increasingly reflects the realities of segregation and inequality that exist in today’s physical world. Without targeted interventions, the Geospatial Web will become separate and unequal. This session will explore if and how offline realities are impacting digital segregation.

While our workplaces are more integrated than ever, most Americans’ personal networks and neighborhoods remain largely segregated by race and income. Organizations and companies layering user-created content or social networking on top of maps should consider the implications of offline inequality on the digital environment, and craft online content that will bridge gaps and transcend the barriers of race and income.

This session will trace a line through the Kozmo.com delivery discrimination lawsuit, the Pew Internet and American Life Project research on the changing nature of digital divide and online behavior, danah boyd’s groundbreaking research on social networking segregation, new research on neighborhood ‘racial blind spots’ and race-based perception by Prof. Maria Krysan, and case studies of user-generated information disparities and will draw upon the enormous body of research on the disparities wrought by racial, ethnic, and economic segregation to establish the extent and nature of how offline segregation is manifested online. It will conclude with an exploration of how the Geospatial Web might not just avoid perpetuating offline inequality but actually play a role in advancing equity.

Despite the election of Barack Obama and public proclamations that America has become a ‘post racial’ society, severe inequalities by race, ethnicity, and income continue to affect families and neighborhoods. The Geospatial Web’s impact on the physical world will only grow in coming years, but the nature of that impact has yet to be determined. The GIS industry has a unique opportunity to build value through strategies that expand opportunity for all users, such as partnering with organizations in impacted communities to fill gaps in data or connecting diverse users to expand social capital.

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