Using Data

This section will provide you with data curated by Serve-Learn-Sustain in different areas of sustainability.

Atlanta Map Room: Rethinking the Way Data Represents the Places We Live

The goal of the Map Room project is to develop local spaces for grassroots map-making, where people can creatively and collaboratively explore data. Conventional digital maps help people see rapid, large-scale social and environmental changes as they unfold. But often these maps are based on abstract data alone and are disconnected from the lived experiences of their audiences. The Map Room project aims to empower people to understand, but also challenge and even redefine, the stories that maps and data tell about their lives and about the places they live. In this tool, students will visit a Map Room on campus to make their own maps and to reflect on the potentials and pitfalls of map-making in a contemporary civic context.

 

This tool was contributed by Yanni Loukissas (yanni.loukissas@lmc.gatech.edu), in collaboration with artist Jer Thorp.

An Introduction to Community Health

Community health is the state of wellbeing of a group of individuals who share common attitudes, beliefs, interests, histories, and/or goals. Use this tool to explore what it means to optimize the health and quality of life of community members in a socially just and holistic way. Students will learn the many factors that contribute to the health of individuals and communities, as well as the people and resources that influence the health of a community. The discussion questions will aid students in breaking down the complexities of community health, as well as understanding their role in contributing to potential solutions. The optional workshop adds an experiential learning dimension to these discussions and activities.

 

Calculating Carbon Footprint

This tool enables students to learn more about individual contributions to overall carbon emissions. The assignment also allows students to formulate possible strategies for reducing personal carbon emissions and share their ideas with a greater audience through social media. In addition, consider showing this presentation on Energy and Climate Change Mitigation to help contextualize their work.

This tool was contributed by Jennifer Glass.

Stratification Monopoly: A Comparative Perspective

Some of the major challenges in teaching about economic inequality and mobility are a) understanding the differences between income and wealth, as well as other types of economic resources; b) encouraging students to be empathetic to those who have a different economic standing than their own; c) the connections between income and wealth in producing economic mobility; and d) understanding how the income and wealth distributions across different countries shape opportunity for mobility in a comparative context. The purpose of this tool is to help students begin to understand:

  1. The primary differences in income and wealth, and how they relate to economic mobility; 
  2. How your place in the economic system can affect opportunities for economic mobility;
  3. How variation in the income and wealth distributions of different countries can affect opportunities for economic mobility.

This tool was contributed by Allen Hyde.

Civic Data Guides: Thinking Critically about Digital Public Records

Over the past decade public institutions have put considerable resources towards improving the quality and availability of civic data, such as budget and expenditure information, building permits, air quality readings, police incidents, and property ownership records. The agencies behind these efforts claim that data sets alone are sufficient to create transparency, increase civic engagement, foster innovation, and ultimately make our communities more sustainable. However, making civic data accessible does not necessarily make them valuable or actionable. To take effective and ethical action, we need contextual information about the processes involved in creating, managing, and interpreting civic data. In this modular, multi-day tool, you will create an accessible, practical guide to an existing civic data set. Working through the modules below can help you, and subsequently others, engage with civic data in productive ways.

Urban Heat Islands and the Georgia Tech Climate Network

Extreme heat leads to more deaths in the US than all other natural disasters combined, and as global temperatures rise, so will the dangers. Urban areas, such as Georgia Tech’s campus, are of primary concern because of the urban heat island effect – the phenomenon in which cities are warmer than nearby rural areas.

Georgia Tech needs your help! This tool will teach you more about the urban heat island effect. You’ll identify real-world urban heat islands on the Georgia Tech campus and propose strategies to reduce temperatures at these campus hot spots. We encourage you to send your recommendations to Georgia Tech’s Urban Climate Lab for consideration! 

Urban Farming & Community Gardens

Starting a community garden in an abandoned vacant lot is a good way to address blight in a neighborhood. This project builds on the dataset of Westside Atlanta property surveys and walks the students through the process of starting a community garden to selling its produce on farmers markets. It emphasizes the social aspect of community building and the importance of buying local.

Rodent Control

This is a collection of assignments around the problem of rodent infestation in cities, which has become a pressing problem following the mild winters in 2015-16. The assignments are designed to 1) develop mapping and data analysis skills, 2) give meaningful ideas for application prototyping, and 3) foster thinking about community engagement. This is based on an up-to-date (2017) dataset of rat sightings in New York City and an on-going collaboration between Georgia Tech and the community of English Avenue.

MARTA: The History and Future of Transportation in Atlanta

This is a collection of assignments about public transportation in Atlanta. The assignments are designed to 1) develop mapping and data analysis skills, 2) form an understanding of how MARTA is used today and how the system evolved to be in its current state, and 3) foster thinking about sustainable transportation. The problems are based on the IoT (Internet of Things) datasets of MARTA, which includes passenger counts of vehicles and Breeze card swipes at terminals. Reflection questions about the history of transportation are based on the 2017 report Opportunity Deferred: Race, Transportation, and the Future of Metropolitan Atlanta.