The diffusion and use of information and communication technologies and the city from 1996 to 2009

Leopoldina Fortunati, Sakari Taipale


The aim of this paper is to investigate whether the diffusion and the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) are associated with the size of the place of residence where people live. The article explores how the relationship between ICTs and place of residence changed between 1996 and 2009. The study presents data from two consecutive telephone surveys collected from Italy, France, Germany, the United Kingdom and Spain. Results show an unexpected role of the relatively rural areas as attractor of new technologies. Although the largest cities have remained the locus of telecommunications on the whole, the relationship between ICTs and the place of abode has changed considerably during the 13 years studied. This is especially due to the innovative role played by the mobile phone. In 2009, although the mobile phone was independent from the place of abode, it was more diffused in relatively rural environments.

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