ODSC East 2016 | Emily Fuhrman & Michael Hassin – “Data Visualization for Social Good”

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Abstract: In this session, we will examine the process and implications of storytelling by composing and visualizing open data. We will focus on two areas. First, the weather across New York City is fairly uniform, but the temperature inside its buildings is not. Visualizing the frequency of 311 service calls about inadequate heat during winter on top of demographic data reveals a pattern that invites further investigation and raises questions about tenants’ rights and gentrification. Second, it is important for government, community organizers, and renters to know who owns the buildings in their neighborhood in order to be able to respond and mobilize effectively if the buildings are poorly maintained. It becomes especially important to know when a single owner has multiple properties throughout the city, though the process of finding this information is difficult and convoluted, often involving multiple city databases. Creating a user-friendly way for organizers to access this information reduces their workload and allows them to support more tenants.

Bio: Michael is a civic hacker interested in the use of open data to discover ways of improving well-being in cities. He’s the creator of Project Pavement, a mobile app for measuring road surface quality using a bicycle and providing customizable bike routing. He develops software at Thoughtworks in New York City and studied economics and philosophy at The College of New Jersey.

Bio: Emily is a freelance data visualization designer and developer based in Brooklyn, NY. Prior to running her own practice, she held data visualization and analytics positions at Booz Allen Hamilton and Huge. Emily holds an M.S. in Predictive Analytics, and is currently pursuing an M.A. in English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University with a focus on the digital humanities.

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