Yesterday’s Internet Isn’t Good Enough for Tomorrow’s Cities

Making connectivity more resilient is about more than floods.

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Photo: next city
Media Outlet: Next City

The Resilient Communities program was profiled in a Next City article.

Katherine Ortiz sat at her kitchen window in Red Hook, Brooklyn, watching the rain and wind build the evening of October 29, 2012. Then, around 8 p.m., almost exactly as Hurricane Sandy made landfall, block by block, the lights turned off. Across coastal New York and New Jersey, power went out for millions, including residents of the Red Hook Houses, one of New York City Housing Authority’s largest public housing developments. Elevators stopped working, as did phones, once batteries ran down. To leave or get to her apartment in the following days, Ortiz walked 14 flights, until NYCHA restored power two weeks later. But where she worked, at local community organization Red Hook Initiative, power was still on — and the wireless internet network still worked, because RHI had built it themselves.

In the News:

Greta Byrum is the director of the Resilient Communities program at New America. She reimagines the way we design, build, and manage communications systems to support local residents as leaders, organizers, and preparedness experts.

Raul Enriquez is the technology coordinator & training specialist at New America’s Resilient Communities program.

Andy Gunn was a program fellow with the Resilient Communities Project and Open Technology Institute at New America, where he partnered with communities to build and govern their own digital communications using the principles of Community Technology.

Katherine Ortiz is a program associate at New America’s Resilient Communities program. In this role, she helps communities become more resilient by training them to build their own mesh network infrastructure.