Students for Urban Data Systems

at Carnegie Mellon University

Upcoming Projects

The two new upcoming projects have an expected timeline of February through mid-May, with the potential to develop into additional projects for future semesters, if there is an interest from the SUDS student team and the partner organization.

Open Positions:

  • Project Lead (Coordinate student efforts and be the point of contact with the partner organization)
  • Team Member

If you’re interested in joining any of these exciting projects, please fill out an interest form here, or email Michael Madaio (mmadaio@cs.cmu.edu) with any questions.


1. Environmental Health Project – Understanding environmental and health impact data

The Environmental Health Project (EHP) is a nonprofit public health organization that assists and supports residents of Southwestern Pennsylvania and beyond who believe their health has been, or could be, impacted by unconventional oil and gas development (UOGD, or “fracking”).

For this project, they have a large number of data sets about citizen health symptoms from local hospitals, and environmental pollution data (air quality, soil quality, etc). They want to develop a data pipeline that can intake their data and join the various data sets at the level of granularity needed, to best understand the impact that polluting facilities have on the health quality of citizens of SW PA. Such a pipeline will allow them to run reproducible analyses on their data sets, incorporating spatial (GIS) data, temporal data, to run models and recommend appropriate environmental health interventions.

Preferred Skills:

  • Involvement in this project may require skills in either data cleaning and analysis (Python, R), data visualization (R Shiny, D3.js), GIS (Mapbox, ArcGIS, etc), web app development (HTML/CSS, Javascript, Flask, Node, Firebase), or database management (Postgres, SQL, etc).
  • Experience working with health or environmental data is beneficial, but not required.
  • Looking for a team lead! (ideally with project management experience, though not required)

 

2. Digital Redlining – Understanding internet access speeds in Pittsburgh, with Pittsburgh Dept. of Innovation and Performance

As part of its Inclusive Innovation initiatives, the Pittsburgh Department of Innovation and Performance (I&P) is working to assess the extent of “digital redlining” in the city, before taking action with internet service providers (ISPs). Digital redlining is the phenomenon where ISPs offer reduced internet speeds to various (typically lower-income) areas of a city, while still charging the same rates. Similar to the disproportionate loan rates offered to lower-income and racially-segregated communities throughout the 20th century (‘redlining’), the digital version of this exacerbates existing inequalities by reducing access to information.

For this project, I&P wants to run a large-scale data collection of internet speeds mapped around the city of Pittsburgh, to make the case to ISPs that they are engaging in inequitable redlining practices. This may involve adapting code from a related project in Louisville, “Speed Up Your City“, or code may be developed from scratch, depending on the availability of code and the needs of the project.

Preferred Skills:

  • Involvement in this project may require skills in either data cleaning and analysis (Python, R), data visualization (R Shiny, D3.js), GIS (Mapbox, ArcGIS, etc), web app development (HTML/CSS, Javascript, Flask, Node, Firebase), or database management (Postgres, SQL, etc).
  • Experience working with internet speed or socio-economic data is beneficial, but not required.
  • Looking for a team lead! (ideally with project management experience, though not required)