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Smart Cities and Data Equity

Urban@UW

Urban@UW has from the beginning been committed to bringing an equity lens to the use of technology and capture of data that is becoming ubiquitous in our cities. Our work to develop “smart to wise cities” through data equity includes the below initiatives, as well as other events, collaborations and projects.

 

Partnerships

UW Data Collaborative

In spring 2019 Urban@UW supported the Center for Studies in Demography and Ecology in the launch of the UW Data Collaborative (UWDC), providing secure access to complex data sets for sophisticated analysis. UWDC provides the infrastructure to harness innovative, but hard-to-access and highly sensitive data for the development of novel, high-quality research and evidence-driven policy making. Central to the UWDC is a state-of-the art computing cluster that provides access to sensitive and/or restricted data in a secure and computationally sophisticated environment. 

Learn more about UWDC.

MetroLab Network

Urban@UW is proud to be a founding partner in the MetroLab Network, a 2015 initiative of the White House aimed at activating smart city principles through targeted partnerships between cities and universities. The City of Seattle and the University of Washington, under UrbAnalytics, are hosting one of 40 city-university partnerships in this national network, each striving to develop technological and data-grounded solutions to challenges facing urban areas. Our partnership is focused on leveraging smart city technology for social good. Funded in part by the MacArthur Foundation, this partnership is addressing the following projects as a start:

  • Working with University of Chicago to deploy sensors to monitor and evaluate micro-environmental dynamics on the streets of Seattle;
  • Supporting UW’s Tech Policy Lab in developing policy to address the ethics and implications for data sharing at the city scale; and
  • Facilitating the Department of Electrical Engineering in examining the relationships between temperature and power grid activity in anticipation of extreme heat events associated with climate change.

Through these and other projects, our ambition is to leverage city-university and city-to-city partnerships to broaden knowledge-sharing and collectively work towards addressing urban challenges that affect multiple communities: from individual citizens and institutions, to the city itself.

Learn more about MetroLab.

UrbAnalytics

With over 80% of the planet impacted by urbanization in an accelerating trend, this moment in history is defined by a clarion call for inclusive, data-driven innovation to improve the resiliency, health, and well-being of cities. As an effort led by Bill Howe, UrbAnalytics is a campus-wide effort to advance municipal big data projects. UrbAnalytics will bridge expertise from the eScience Institute and faculty from across the Urban@UW network to establish a permanent capacity for high-impact, data-driven analytics and research projects on behalf of government and community stakeholders, addressing the complex challenges and opportunities of the urban landscape.

Learn more about UrbAnalytics.

Cascadia Urban Analytics Cooperative

To lead a focused response for evidence-based innovation to improve the resiliency, health, and well-being of cities and their inhabitants, the University of Washington (through a partnership between the UW eScience InstituteUrbAnalytics and Urban@UW) and the University of British Columbia (through a partnership between UBC’s Data Science Institute and UBC’s Sustainability Initiative) have formed the Cascadia Urban Analytics Cooperative (CUAC), an applied, interdisciplinary, regional center that brings together academic researchers, students, and public stakeholder groups to address topics affecting citizens of the Cascadia region. The specific focus of CUAC is data science for social good in an urban context: high-impact data science and analytics projects that aim to understand and extract valuable actionable information out of data from urban environments in the Cascadia region at a neighborhood level. CUAC applies a fine-grained approach to data science through interdisciplinary partnerships across fields such as public policy, urban planning, civil engineering, landscape architecture, sociology, real estate, computer science and law. CUAC projects span all data science topics, with a particular focus on equitable transportation, housing stability, population health and responsible data science.

Learn more about CUAC.

Data Science for Social Good

Urban@UW provided past support for the eScience Institute’s Data Science for Social Good, a summer program that brings together students, stakeholders, and data and domain researchers to work on focused, collaborative projects for societal benefit.

Learn more about DSSG.

Events

Social Justice and Equity in the Engineering of Smart and Connected Cities

This workshop, organized by the UW Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering, Urban@UW, and West Coast Poverty Center, focused on scholarship and strategies around engineering and smart-city technologies that contribute to strengthening the health and resilience of underserved and at-risk communities in cities, particularly those experiencing homelessness. Scholars and practitioners from a variety of fields spanning engineering, social sciences, social work and humanities discussed the challenges cities face and developed ideas addressing the themes of environment, mobility, resilience, and equity.

Learn more about this 2018 workshop.

 

Partners and Collaborators