Full article: eurocities
Exit from Covid-19 crisis must be digital, local and work for all
The COVID-19 crisis in our cities is proving to us that a fair and rapid digital transition is not only possible, but also more necessary than ever before. Digital technologies have been key to ensuring the continuity of municipal services and to providing a humane and social response to the pandemic. But it has also exposed the stark inequalities that shape access to digital technologies and the protection of our data and digital rights.
Many of us have led large-scale transitions to remote work in just a few weeks since the start of the outbreak, which has ensured the continuity of our public services. Not only this: digital technologies have also allowed us to provide a more social and community-based response to the crisis – from 3D printing of Personal Protective Equipment in municipal fab labs, to providing adequate healthcare for confined people, or tackling loneliness among our senior citizens.
Cities across Europe have worked tirelessly to prevent physical distancing from turning into social distancing, and digital innovation has proven to be a key instrument. However, this is challenging to ensure, when the access of most vulnerable groups to the internet – and their ability to get the most out of digital services – is defined by their income level, age, gender or even neighbourhood.
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