Data for Housing, launched summer of 2020, brings cutting-edge data science tools to planning professionals seeking to address local issues in a more transparent and data-informed manner.
Data for Housing, an urban data science workshop for planning professionals, has launched its pilot program this summer. The program was designed out of a need to develop data science capacities within local government and nonprofit organizations. The workshop offers a six-week curriculum that introduces participants to the fundamentals of Python and imparts a deeper understanding of data science in the context of urban policy and planning, particularly for housing and transportation.
Spreadsheets and ESRI shapefiles are common staples for planners, but Data for Housing hopes to introduce “dataframes” and “for-loops” to the planner’s lexicon. The workshop introduces tools that are open-source and free to use and pairs them with publicly available datasets to generate novel and relevant data analytics and visualizations to inspire local planners and policymakers to action. Says the Department of City and Regional Planning Chair Karen Chapple, who launched the program in coordination with Executive Director Claudia von Vacano of the UC Berkeley D-Lab, “We are at a critical juncture in urban planning practice. In order to take advantage of the availability of new forms of big data and analytics, we need to equip the front line in our cities with the cutting-edge tools used in the private sector. What better task for the public university than to build the capacity of the public and nonprofit sectors?”
The pilot online workshop, held over 12 half-day sessions in June and July, will bring together 25 students from 12 different organizations, ranging from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission to the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco to PolicyLink to the Alameda County Board of Supervisors. Funding for the program comes from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, and co-sponsors include the California Department of Housing and Community Development, as well as the Metropolitan Transportation Commission/Association of Bay Area Governments. The organizers plan to hold the workshop regularly in the future, for an audience of urban planners and policymakers from around North America. If you’re interested in participating in a workshop, or creating a custom urban data science workshop for your organization, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org