Past and Future Divides: Social Mobility, Inequality, and the Digital Divide in Austin During the Tech Boom

Tufekci, Zeynep

This chapter examines the economic con-sequences of the technopolis development strategy adopted by Aus-tin, Texas. It concentrates on inequality, the digital divide, and labor-market outcomes for low-income people, with a focus on the tech boom of the late 1990s and early 2000s in Austin, often considered a paradigmatic example of the “new economy” high-tech metropolis and of the (successful) deliberate reinvention of a city. In particular, I will examine the theoretical assumptions that structure the technop-olis strategy and proposed remedies to negative economic outcomes caused by the digital divide such as job training, and how these play out within the context of a self-proclaimed technopolis.