Thoughts on CUAC Summit

The Cascadia Urban Analytics Cooperative (CUAC) Summit took place at the University of British Columbia on July 13 and July 14. This summit focused on bringing together the DSSG fellows and researchers from the University of Washington and University of British Columbia as well as Microsoft representatives to discuss social good opportunities, projects, and research.

Cruising Team in updates

Perusing Cruising: A Suggestion for Congestion


Congestion is troublesome in Seattle
Getting downtown is such a battle
So our team’s going to do some fun math
To understand the circling path

Of people trying to find parking spots
Without paying the price of private lots
We have anonymized data of traffic flow:
An aggregated view of where people go

Cruising Team in updates

Getting acquainted with our city

One of the pitfalls of data science is that there’s often little incentive to acquire domain knowledge. Systems under study can be easily reduced to abstractions and shoved into models that may or may not acccount for relevant details. For data science aimed at effecting social good, the inclusion of such detail is of particular importance, as social systems are often intricate and nuanced, such that modification of any one structure impacts other connected parts of the system. So it is with transportation management, and so it was that the Cruising team took to the city, to meet with stakeholders in our project and to scope out the neighborhoods we’ll be studying this summer.

Cruising Team in updates

Buffets & menus #TeamEquity

#TeamEquity is Gundula Proksch, associate professor of architecture; Rachel Berney, assistant professor of urban design and planning; Bernease Herman and Amanda Tan, DSSG data scientists; and DSSG fellows Hillary Dawkins, Yahui Ma, Jacob Kovacs, and Jacob Rich.

Where we’re at

Last week #TeamEquity dug into DC Action’s interactive mapping tool. We managed to shift the map from the DC area to the Seattle area, to pull data from the ACS 5 year Census API, to visualize it at the Census block level, and to crosswalking the data so we can show it at the level of Seattle neighborhoods that our users will recognize.

Jacob Kovacs, Jacob Rich in updates

Getting things started! #TeamEquity

#TeamEquity is Gundula Proksch, associate professor of architecture; Rachel Berney, assistant professor of urban design and planning; Bernease Herman and Amanda Tan, DSSG data scientists; and DSSG fellows Hillary Dawkins, Yahui Ma, Jacob Kovacs, and Jacob Rich.

What we’re doing

This summer, building on work by DC Action for Children, #TeamEquity will be developing an interactive online tool for investigating urban equity and gentrification in Seattle. Our hope is to bring some clarity and direction to an important and impassioned public discussion, and to help various actors see and understand the potential impact of different actions.

Jacob Kovacs in updates

Data Walk: Construction

Our Story

datawalkl0 Data walking is the process of wandering around and reflecting on the data that you encounter. The idea is to learn to look for data in everyday objects and in your surroundings. As you wander, you should discuss what data means to you, how you know when data is present, how data can be different for different people, and how transmission of data affects real life. You should also interview some people that you meet to understand different perspectives. Reflecting as you walk, your mission and themes of interest can evolve over time.

Brett Bejcek, Hillary Dawkins, Daniel Dylewsky, Krista Jones, Anamol Pundle, Wenhao Zhang in updates

A data walk on The Ave and the stories behind it

Beginning the Data Walk

Event: a data walk
Time: Jun 12, 2017
Location: University Way (The Ave), Seattle, WA
People: Mayuree, Mike, Mitch, Jacob, Maya and Anissa

The data walk was an interesting experience for us. We had no idea where to begin the data walk and how to search for questions that could help us understand our surroundings in terms of data. As we began the data walk, we first took a halt near the Physics and Astronomy tower and tried to figure out the area in University District where we could walk to gain some interesting insights about it. We all came to a conclusion that the University Way or “The Ave” would be the best area for us to begin with as it’s full of diversity in terms of infrastructure and culture. We began walking towards the University Way. Although , we had chosen the area for our data walk, but 2 minutes into the walk we realised that we did not have a specific data-related question which we could explore. We halted for the second time and brainstormed the kind of questions that we could explore on the Ave. After approximately 2 minutes , we decided to explore the various data related aspects of Homelessness and the various factors affecting data related to homeless population on the Ave.

Mayuree, Mike, Mitch, Jacob, Maya in updates

Data Walk: Accountability, Transparency, Accessibility, and Openness


How do people in their communities interact with data, and to what extent are those data accessible? In urban environments, data on construction and urban development initiatives are widely available. However, the extent to which individuals engage with these data is unclear. For our data walk, we surveyed street-level construction information available near Lake Union in Seattle’s U District, with a particular focus on signage and noticeboards. Though data is potentially a powerful tool for public good, it becomes clear that it is still just a tool and that the complications and difficult choices of any land use public policy are still present.