Visualizing the Digital Divide in Chicago [Map]


This year, a number of city initiatives - including the Smart Chicago Challenge (SCC) and the Chicago Public Library's WiFi lending program - will be launched in an effort to shrink the city's 'digital divide,' the gap between those with ready-access to the internet and computers and those without it.

In fact, when the SCC says that its mission is to make "Chicago the most dynamic digital city in the world," it means that it's out to fill in the holes where residents are either lacking connectivity, digital skills, or both.

One way that the city works to address this digital divide is through Connect Chicago, a loose network of more than 250 places in the city where internet and computer access, digital skills training, and online learning resources are available for free. These locations include public libraries, public housing locations, city colleges, senior centers and more.

But, in order to truly attack the digital divide, you need to know what it looks like. Below is a map of every Connect Chicago location in the city. (The map was created using data from the city's Data Portal). The city and civic organizations use maps like this to identify the neighborhoods and areas where there is a significant gap between public buildings with internet access. Take a look:

Chicago's Digital Divide:

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And here's a video of the Connect Chicago locations, broken down by category.


This is what you're seeing in the video:

0:00 - Every Connect Chicago location
0:10 - Library Locations
0:12 - Public Housing Locations
0:14 - City Colleges
0:16 - Community Technology Centers
0:18 - Senior Centers
0:20 - Community Service Centers
0:22 - Workforce Centers
0:24 - WorkNet Centers
0:26 - Youth Career Development Centers

0:30 - Wifi Within Walking Distance
This is a heat map of publicly provided wifi in Chicago, measured by a "walking distance" defined as 1/2 mile. 
(In this map and the following one, Red indicates more than one location nearby. Yellow indicates close proximity. Green indicates medium proximity. Blue outlines indicate the outer diameter of 1/2 mile from the center).

0:39 - Internet Within Walking Distance
This is a heat map of publicly provided internet in Chicago, measured by a "walking distance" defined as 1/2 mile.

0:46 - Estimated Accessibility of Centers
Green indicates ADA accessible facilities (both physical & technical features).
Yellow indicates partial accessibility.
Red indicates inaccessible centers.
Blue indicates unknown accessibility.

(Image via the City Data Portal)

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