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The program will help city officials decide how to invest in technology based on community needs.

Some Long Beach residents are struggling to thrive in the digital age without proper technological training, an issue city officials are looking to address with the newly launched Smart City Initiative, officials announced this week.

The city program, in partnership with the Long Beach Collaboratory, will engage residents from four specific neighborhoods to better understand their technological needs — and inform how Long Beach invests its money in the future.

“The LB Co-Lab will engage local Long Beach stakeholders in a collaborative community engagement process to scope and implement a pilot technology project,” a city announcement said. “The technology implemented through this program will ensure the city invests in technology enhancements based on community-identified needs, while also teaching community members about technology design and development.”

The program, the Monday, Nov. 7, announcement said, will help Long Beach implement accessible tech infrastructure in its Hamilton, Ramona Park, Willmore and Lower West Side neighborhoods, which were selected based of internet access, unemployment, age and COVID-19 impact data. Individuals must live, work, study or have an affiliation with one of those neighborhoods to participate in the program.

Those accepted to the Smart City Initiative will join a community working group to provide feedback on digital inclusion issues and how Long Beach can help fix them. They’ll also review submissions for potential “smart” city projects to address the agreed upon challenge — such as installating digital kiosks, public Wi-Fi stations or charging stations.

Program participants will deploy and test the proposed solution to the issues identified within the working groups in those four neighborhoods, the announcement said. They’ll also receive training in technology development, earn a professional certificate and a $1,000 stipend.

“The LB Co-Lab is an innovative program that will work with residents to foster technology skills,” Mayor Robert Garcia said in the announcement, “and help us invest in the technology and services that will be most useful to our community.”

Aside from helping determine future city projects based on community needs, according to the announcement, the Smart City Initiative will also help launch additional economic investment funds for further technological developments..

The Smart City Initiative is funded through the Long Beach Recovery Act and grant funds.

More information and applications are available on the Co-Lab website.

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Autor(en)/Author(s): Kristy Hutchings

Quelle/Source: Press-Telegram, 09.11.2022

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