Students for Urban Data Systems

at Carnegie Mellon University

Completed Projects

Allegheny Land Trust’s Wingfield Pines

SUDS members: Linda Kuster (team lead), Zachary Goldstein, Pengji Zhang, Shlok Goyal

Allegheny Land Trust (ALT) is a land conservation and stewardship organization which serves the Pittsburgh region. The mission of ALT is to “serve as the lead land trust conserving and stewarding lands that support the scenic, recreational and environmental well-being of communities in Allegheny County and its environs.”[1] As of 2015, ALT owned 572 acres of land, including Wingfield Pines, a site in Upper St. Clair and South Fayette in the southwestern corner of Allegheny County. The site was affected by Abandoned Mine Drainage until ALT worked with an environmental engineer to design a natural filtration system. Abandoned Mine Drainage water flows through a series of ponds which remove oxides before the water reaches Chartiers Creek. Wingfield Pines also offers recreational opportunities for the public.

Wingfield Pines Pond Filtration System


“The treatment system brings groundwater from close by and directs it into pond 1 (A). The water is moved slowly into the pie shaped settling ponds entering pond 2 and exiting at pond 5 (B). As the water leaves pond 5, most of the iron has been extracted, but the wetlands (C) ensure any remaining iron left will fall out with the unique design and native plants that maximize oxygen mixture.”[2]

In April 2017, ALT approached SUDS for their help analyzing data collected at Wingfield Pines and designing data visualizations to demonstrate ALT’s impact at Wingfield Pines. The SUDS team members of this project have a diverse set of interests and backgrounds, including statistics, coding, and design. The team will complete the following:

  1. Clean, compile, and analyze data collected by a multitude of sources since 2011.
  2. Design data visualizations which convey the importance of ALT and Wingfield Pines for the public and donors.
  3. Embed data visualizations in ALT’s WordPress website.
  4. Ensure ALT has ability to independently update visualizations with new data in the future.

The team presented their visualizations to ALT in early August. The project was then finalized several weeks later following revisions and testing. ALT hopes to increase awareness and donations for Wingfield Pines as a result of this collaboration.

[1] Allegheny Land Trust. 2013. “Strategic Plan.”

[2] Allegheny Land Trust. “Wingfield Pines: Graphs and Analysis.”



Boys and Girls Club of Western Pennsylvania

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

Criminal Justice Reform with the Alliance for Police Accountability

Project leadership: Lizzie Silver and Lauren Renaud

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

This project 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 were 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 how to incorporate data into community organizing, join us by sending an email to

Specific Projects in this area:

  • Crime and Development in Larimer
    • Brandi Fisher from the Alliance for Police Accountability was interested in exploring crime hotspots in Larimer and comparing them to where new development is happening or is planned. This was pulled from the WPRDC police blotter dataset. Some of this had been plotted in the past from Code for Pittsburgh, but this project involved working directly with Brandi on Larimer questions. 
    • Skillsets: 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.
    • Skillsets: 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 built 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 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 here! Check it out!