Brett Hudson: How is technology impacting social and economic divisions in cities?


Explores the impact of technology on social and economic divisions in cities.

Technology is everywhere in our modern cities. It helps us move forward but also brings challenges. As cities grow and technology becomes more important, it has a greater impact on social and economic inequality. Today, we will explore the impact of technology on economic and social divisions of city and the connection between technology and urban divisions.

Impact of Technology on Economic and Social Divisions of City: How?

Long-standing institutions have seen their influence decrease in various areas of society due to the rise of ICTs. Institutions have traditionally helped people satisfy their needs and achieve their goals efficiently and affordably.

With the widespread adoption of ICTs, a remarkable DIY culture has emerged, urging individuals to channel their inner abilities and immediate connections instead of depending on institutions to achieve similar objectives.

DIY culture emerged from the widespread use of ICTs. These technologies have made it more cost-effective for individuals to achieve their goals with less time and resources. As a result, individuals now have more power to accomplish tasks without relying on institutions.

Traditional institutional structures often find themselves unable to keep up with the DIY culture. This necessitates their adaptation, renders them irrelevant, or leaves them susceptible to being replaced by disruptive innovation. The modern economy’s DIY culture is transferring power from established institutions to individuals and networks of individuals. This will lead to a shift from a society based on institutions to a society based on networks.

Effects of Technological Advancement

A network-based economy creates a new power structure that is different from traditional institutions. Incorporating the DIY culture has become more and more prevalent, even crucial, for innovative business models.

The potential of network-based tools like crowdsourcing, crowdfunding, and crowd speaking has significantly expanded in recent years, thanks to the advancements in ICTs. The widespread use of these models demonstrates the immense power an individual can wield by accessing a vast network instead of relying on a limited institutional framework. This is how technology affects business.

Why go through the process of raising capital through institutional finance to fund your idea, when you can tap into a vast network of individuals that has a higher chance of leading to success?

The Social Impact of Technology

The transition to a network-based economy also presents a significant challenge. Although private sector institutions are designed to embrace change and embrace innovation, many public sector institutions lack this ability. The rigid system of institutions could explain why people are losing trust in the government, especially among Millennials who prefer doing things themselves.

What Could be Done?

ICTs are making it hard for government institutions to stay relevant in the DIY economy, but embracing technology and DIY culture at the local government level could be their solution.  Private sector institutions are now being compelled to identify business models that either relinquish or collaborate power with individuals, all due to the tech-driven DIY culture. City governments can also take action to re-engage and tap into the untapped creative potential of their citizens.

The shift from institutional-based governance to network-based governance shows great potential in bridging economic and social divides in our communities. Cities that adopt ICT and DIY culture have the opportunity to include and empower previously unheard voices in the government. A power shift can empower underserved communities who lack voice, power, and resources to influence government institutions, enabling them to create change. Over time, citizens who are more connected to their community could overcome social and economic problems that the government cannot solve.

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