Access & Use of Technology

Smart Inclusive Cities: How New Apps, Big Data, and Collaborative Technologies Are Transforming Immigrant Integration


Mobile phones that provide Internet access, location services and applications could provide unique solutions to social problems such as disaster response, public health, and public safety for all sectors of society. Given high mobile phone ownership and use rates among immigrant communities, cities nationwide are looking at ways to utilize mobile technology to engage immigrants.

Smartphones particularly have the potential to reduce significant language and literacy barriers that immigrants currently face in communication with city workers. In addition, the widespread adoption of smartphones provides an opportunity to collect data on immigrant populations, which are typically difficult to capture. With new data and decreased barriers, cities can develop  programs and policies that serve the needs of immigrants and the general population.

A report, Smart Inclusive Cities: How New Apps, Big Data, and Collaborative Technologies Are Transforming Immigrant Integration (2014) from the Migration Policy Institute, assesses these technologies in their use for immigrant integration, and raises a valid point that although smartphones and emerging technology may present great opportunities to include new populations, the cost of developing programs centered on smartphone applications is high and should be considered along with an array of engagement options. Topics included in this report range from the provision of city services to applications developed for immigrant use.

About this project

The Tomás Rivera Policy Institute, a university research center with the mission to address the challenges and opportunities of demographic diversity in the 21st century global city, has produced these featured digital publications using the USC Media Curator, an online publishing platform designed to bring together innovative research from across the University of Southern California and beyond. This project curates research relevant for immigrant service providers on the topics of Access & Use of TechnologyAccess & Use of Financial ServicesNotario Fraud, and Driver's Licenses for the unauthorized.


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