Authority on the economic impact of broadband to speak at Keene summit

Purdue University’s Roberto Gallardo will discuss how ultra-fast internet connectivity is essential for rural communities


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Roberto Gallardo, assistant director of the Purdue Center for Regional Development at Purdue University and a national authority on the use of technology for economic development in rural areas, will headline the Radically Rural Summit on Friday, Sept. 28.

Radically Rural is a two-day summit expected to attract 500 people from New England, the Northeast and across the country who are passionate about creating vibrant, robust rural communities and eager to learn, connect and lead change. The Hannah Grimes Center for Entrepreneurship and The Keene Sentinel are partnering to present Radically Rural, which will be held in Keene, Sept. 27-28.

Dr. Gallardo’s presentation, “Rural Renaissance and Digital Parity” will explore how the digital age can eliminate density and geographic proximity requirements that were so critical during the industrial age.

According to Gallardo, the digital age makes it possible for a rural community to maintain its rural feel and continue to leverage its natural amenities while taking advantage of what only dense urban areas once enjoyed. To achieve #Rural2.0, rural communities need ultra-fast internet connectivity and digital skills, said Gallardo, in a press release. More importantly, we need to challenge the traditional 20th century mindset that still exists in rural communities, and focus on the adoption and use of technology.

Roberto is an engaging speaker and offers remarkable insight into how access to broadband and adoption of online technology can transform rural areas — while maintaining their rural character, said Mary Ann Kristiansen, executive director of the Hannah Grimes Center for Entrepreneurship. He cuts through outdated stereotypes and opinions with his research and data-driven findings. Roberto takes a disciplined, fact-based approach to understanding how technology can benefit rural areas. We are delighted to have him join us at Radically Rural.

Gallardo has worked with rural communities over the past decade conducting research and developing strategies for local and regional community economic development, including use of technology for development. He has authored more than 70 articles regarding rural trends, socioeconomic analysis, industrial clusters, the digital divide, and leveraging broadband applications for community economic development.

He is also the author of  Responsive Countryside: The Digital Age & Rural Communities, which highlights a 21st century community development model that helps rural communities transition to, plan for, and prosper in the digital age. Gallardo has served as a TEDx speaker and his work has been featured in WIRED magazine.

In addition to serving as assistant director of the Purdue Center for Regional Development, Gallardo is also a Purdue extension community and regional economics specialist. He holds an electronics engineering undergraduate degree, a master's in economic development, and a Ph.D. in public policy and administration.

For more information and to register, visit radicallyrural.org.

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