Students for Urban Data Systems

at Carnegie Mellon University


SUDS Projects

Are you a non-profit or government organization and want a free data analysis opportunity? Are you a student who wants to get some hands on experience working with data in a concrete way? SUDS seeks to bring our members together with organizations and data research questions in the real world.

This page will host updates on our ongoing projects. If you’re interested in being involved in an existing project, or if you have an idea for something we can take on in the future, please contact us at We look forward to hearing from you.

Current Projects

Boys and Girls Club of Western Pennsylvania

Project leadership: Open

The BGCA is a non-profit organization that currently operates eight clubs in Allegheny County. Because of shifting demographic changes in the city of Pittsburgh over the last few years some of these clubs are no longer located in areas where they can best serve underprivileged youth populations.

The BGCA is attempting to locate other areas in the city and county that would be suitable locations for new club development or merger of existing club locations. This requires a data analysis of census and income information that they are not able to perform on their own.

Skillsets: Data analysis, mapping, spatial analysis
If you’re interested, please send a brief note about your background to We are in particular looking for someone to take ownership of this project.

Criminal Justice Reform with the Alliance for Police Accountability

Project leadership: Lizzie Silver and Lauren Renaud

We are partnering with the Alliance for Police Accountability (APA) on a project that will weave together personal experiences from community interviews with data analysis of larger trends.

This project is currently underway and has involved a thorough exploration of the overlapping and confusing boundaries and jurisdictions of police forces in the County. Read the project’s first fascinating analysis on our blog.

The APA’s core goals are to reverse the war on drugs, break up concentrated poverty and block the school to prison pipeline. Datasets we’re examining include the Allegheny County jail census, the Pittsburgh police blotter, Pittsburgh Department of Public Safety interactive reports and the American Community Survey.

If you’re interested in doing work in this area and exploring out how to incorporate data into community organizing, join us by sending an email to

Specific Projects in Progress:

  • Crime and Development in Larimer
    • Brandi Fisher from the Alliance for Police Accountability is interested in exploring crime hotspots in Larimer and comparing them to where new development is happening or is planned. This will pull from the WPRDC police blotter dataset. Some of this has been plotted in the past from Code for Pittsburgh, but this project will work directly with Brandi on Larimer questions. Length of this project will depend on scoping it out with Brandi.
    • Skillsets looking for: mapping, data cleaning, visualization, qualitative and quantitative analysis

  • Allegheny County Sentencing Analysis
    • Analyzing what factors impact lengths of sentences in negotiated plea deals using a dataset from the Pennsylvania Commission on Sentencing that includes race, gender, age, income, previous convictions, and level of offense.

      We had our first meeting in October to scope out the project and assign initial tasks. We expect this project to take at least the rest of the semester, if not into the Spring. We’re meeting again in a few weeks, email if you’d like to know more.

    • Skillsets we’re looking for: data cleaning, analysis, visualization, machine learning, data mining

Hazelwood Community Data Portal

SUDS members involved: Justin Cole, Donghun Kang, Clayton Oeth, Will Levine, and Eric Darsow

In partnership with the Greater Hazelwood Community Collaborative, SUDS members have undertaken to build a web-portal to feature the results of a community survey conducted to assess the civic interests and opportunities for service collaboration among residents of the Hazelwood neighborhood of Pittsburgh.

Project components have involved analyzing survey data, mapping the results, creating a web-based portal, presenting the findings to community organizations in Hazelwood, and collaboration with artists local to Hazelwood.

Our data portal is mostly done! Check it out!