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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Partnerships between urban and rural municipalities, educational institutions and corporations are beginning to create opportunities to address urban-rural gaps in transit, food security and broadband access.

Why it matters: The rural-urban divide, particularly with regard to broadband access, boils down to a mismatch in where resources are allocated, and these programs strive to distribute resources beyond urban cores.

By the numbers: According to the OECD, 80% of rural populations live close to cities.

  • Per the Brookings Institute, only 18% of Americans live in neighborhoods where 80% or more of the households have high-speed broadband.
  • According to the nonprofit Feed America, food insecurity affects 2.3 million households in rural communities in the United States, and 84% of the counties with the highest percentage of children at risk for food insecurity are rural.

What’s happening:

  • The Rural Virginia Initiative is a collaboration between several Virginia colleges and universities to bolster attention and resources for issues like health and health care, job creation, and education in rural parts of the state.
  • The Georgia Smart Communities Challenge is a technical assistance and funding program that brings together various government entities in the state, Georgia Power, researchers at Georgia Tech and more to distribute grants and resources to communities for smart city projects.
  • Metro21: Smart Cities Institute at Carnegie Mellon University and Waynesburg University are collaborating to develop tech-driven interventions to address food insecurity and mobility in nearby rural areas.
  • Google has partnered with local universities, libraries and other organizations in Kansas City, Austin and Provo to close the digital divide through web access, digital literacy training and other community resources.

But, but, but: When projects move forward without community input, they can raise concerns about surveillance and data collection, which happened with Sidewalk Labs’ originally proposed smart city in Toronto’s downtown waterfront.

  • And not every solution is one-size-fits-all. While ride-hailing services have helped to fill gaps in the urban transportation infrastructure, lower demand, longer drives and inconsistent cell service make ride-hailing a less attractive option in rural areas.

The bottom line: Urban-rural partnerships can provide municipalities the resources in areas that would otherwise not receive commercial investment.

Karen Lightman is executive director of Metro21: Smart Cities Institute at Carnegie Mellon University.

Go deeper

Updated 31 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus cases hold steady at 65,000 per day — CDC declares racism "a serious public health threat" — WHO official: Brazil is dealing with "raging inferno" of a COVID outbreak
  2. Vaccines: America may be close to hitting a vaccine wall — Pfizer asks FDA to expand COVID vaccine authorization to adolescents — CDC says Johnson & Johnson vaccine supply will drop 80% next week.
  3. Economy: Treasury says over 156 million stimulus payments sent out since March — More government spending expected as IMF projects 6% global GDP growth.
  4. Politics: Supreme Court ends California's coronavirus restrictions on home religious meetings
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.

Second senior Matt Gaetz aide resigns amid federal investigation

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) walking out of the Capitol in January 2021. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Devin Murphy, Rep. Matt Gaetz's legislative director, has stepped down amid a federal investigation into sex trafficking allegations against the Florida Republican congressman, the New York Times first reported and Axios has confirmed.

The latest: "It's been real," Murphy wrote in an email, obtained by Axios, to Republican legislative directors on Saturday morning, with the subject line: "Well...bye."

Rep. Dan Crenshaw says he'll be blind for a month after eye surgery

Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas) in Washington, D.C., in December 2020. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas) said in a statement Saturday he will be blind for roughly a month after getting surgery to reattach the retina in left eye.

Why it matters: Crenshaw, who lost his right eye and sustained severe damage to his left eye during his third deployment to Afghanistan in 2012, said he will be "pretty much off the grid for the next few weeks."