Urban Sciences Research Coordination Network: Data-Driven Urban Design and Analysis
The Urban Sciences Research Coordination Network (US-RCN) is a National Science Foundation-funded effort to develop an interdisciplinary, data-driven approach to urban research, analysis, and planning. Teams of computer scientists, mathematicians, public health and education experts, architects, urban planners, social scientists, and artists leverage a unique and growing collection of data sets from public and private sources to study the effects of policy decisions, investments, urban development, and other interventions on cities and residents.
The US-RCN convenes teams of researchers from over eighteen different institutions, including The University of Chicago, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, the City of Chicago, and the international architecture and urban design firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. Following the network's inaugural meeting in February 2013, members of the network continued throughout the summer of 2013 to partner with other UrbanCCD projects to bring this unique approach to a vast array of research initiatives, in particular a dozen projects undertaken through the Data Science for Social Good summer fellowship program.
Data Science for Social Good Summer Fellowship Program
The Eric and Wendy Schmidt Data Science for Social Good summer fellowship program (DSSG), led by Rayid Ghani, Director of Center for Data Science and Public Policy and a Fellow at the Harris School of Public Policy, harnesses the strength of data science to address projects of social importance. UrbanCCD partnered with Ghani and the Computation Institute to facilitate the first two years of the program in the summers of 2013 and 2014. Since its inception, DSSG has brought over 120 undergraduate and graduate students with computer science, statistics, and quantitative social science backgrounds to Chicago to spend 12 weeks working on project teams with partners from the non-profit and public sectors. Organizations such as the City of Chicago, Cook County, NorthShore University HealthSystem, Nurse-Family Partnership, Mesa Public Schools, Ushahidi, and Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) have provided the fellows with data and domain expertise throughout the summer. “The goal for the program was to find people who are interested in data and analytics and want to use those skills to help society,” says Rayid Ghani.