In 1999 a report on the digital divide was issued. I linked it to my web site then and it got a good deal of response. Toward the end of this report - mostly a dull piece of writing - there was a list of several hopeful communal and even communitarian digital projects. One little section today seems both very relevant and also quaint in its tone, diction and word choice. Geez, it's only '99 - not long ago. And yet this little paragraph seems to come from another era. Here's a phrase: "public transit for the information highway." The little section of the long report is called "Public Transit For The Information Highway," and here it is:
Blue Line TeleVillage -- a project in Compton, CA developed by Los Angeles consulting firm Siembab Associates with the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transit Authority -- is as a non-commercial network access center (NAC) that was strategically created to simultaneously reduce environmental pollution and provide community groups with access to high-tech digital broadband networks. Blue Line TeleVillage is located near the center of community activity and is close to bus and train lines. According to Walter Siembab of Siembab Associates, NACs can transform urban communities by making them more sustainable environmentally and commercially. By adopting this policy -- which he calls public transit for the information highway -- NACs can be positive examples of good-quality neighborhood or village life.
Siembab Associates, a very good planning firm, issued a "final report" on this project, by the way. It's 125 pages and available as a PDF file. (I've read about 40 pages of it. Am I a little insane? Don't answer that, please.)