Networked Urbanisms


  • Cyrus Peñarroyo University of Michigan, Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning



Urbanism, Internet, Digital, Equity, Detroit


This visual essay examines digital equity in Detroit and possible ways that urban form could be influenced by broadband accessibility. Detroit has one of the lowest rates of internet connectivity in the United States, which means that thousands of people (specifically school-aged youths) do not have the same opportunities for learning, working, or socializing as those with the ability to get online. This situation is intensified by the economic precarity of many Detroiters, the high costs of household internet subscriptions, irregular or unreliable service, and, most recently, the coronavirus pandemic. This speculative project combines publicly-available spatial data with insights gathered from interviews of high school students in the city in order to map detailed geographies of digital access and exclusion across Detroit. Three urban design scenarios were developed using this information, each exploring ways that a community-oriented network architecture could reconfigure public life to sponsor more connected and inclusive futures.





Peer Reviewed Articles