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Digital Equity Ecosystems

We define digital equity ecosystems as interactions between individuals, populations, communities, and their larger sociotechnical environments that all play a role in shaping the digital inclusion work in local communities to promote more equitable access to technology and social and racial justice.

Our research in this area seeks to understand how digital inclusion coalitions across the nation have worked to promote healthy digital equity ecosystems. The purpose of this research is to provide data and evidence to help practitioners, philanthropic organizations, and local, state, and federal policymakers develop more effective digital equity strategies, particularly as the National Telecommunications and Information Administration releases billions of dollars in the next five years through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. We hope that the findings from our work will also be useful for key stakeholders working on digital equity initiatives to advance social, economic, and racial justice in communities across the country.

To learn more about digital equity ecosystems research produced by those affiliated with the DERC (in bold), please visit the following links below.


Colin Rhinesmith, Malana Krongelb, and Jie Jiang. (2022). “The Digital Equity Leadership Lab (DELL): a case study of community leadership development to promote digital equity and justice.” The Journal of Community Informatics, 18(1), 104-131.

Colin Rhinesmith. (October, 2021). “The Digital Equity Leadership Lab (DELL): A Case Study of Community Leadership Development to Promote Digital Equity and Justice.” Baltimore, MD: Robert W. Deutsch Foundation.

Colin Rhinesmith and Susan Kennedy. (2020). “Growing Healthy Digital Equity Ecosystems During COVID-19 and Beyond.” Evanston, IL: Benton Institute for Broadband & Society.

Bianca Reisdorf and Colin Rhinesmith (2020). “Digital Inclusion as a Core Component of Social Inclusion.” Social Inclusion8(2), 132-137.

Bianca Reisdorf and Colin Rhinesmith. (2018). “An Asset-Based Approach to Digital Inclusion Research in the US Context.” In Massimo Ragnedda and Bruce Mutswairo (Eds.), Digital Inclusion: An International Comparative Analysis. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.

Colin Rhinesmith. (2016). “Digital Inclusion and Meaningful Broadband Adoption Initiatives.” Evanston, IL: Benton Foundation.