The National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership published an article about Turning the Corner project. Click here to read more.
The National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership published an article about Turning the Corner project. Click here to read more.
The National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership published an article about Milwaukee’s Amani Neighborhood. To learn more about how the people in Amani are using data to identify safety issues and build relationships with the police, click here.
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This summer, as part of a field experience collaboration between the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Joseph J. Zilber School of Public Health, and Data You Can Use, I was able to complete my field experience requirement for the Master of Public Health program in biostatistics. Throughout my field experience at Data You Can Use, I was provided a plethora of opportunities to showcase and refine my data analysis, visualization, and presentation skills. When looking at different site locations for my field experience, I came across the Data You Can Use website. I was initially drawn to the liquor license map that was uploaded to the site in 2018. I like the interactive aspects of the map and thought that it would be useful for me to learn how to use mapping software. In addition, I was interested in exploring the relationship between binge drinking and liquor licenses due my public health background.
With the help of my preceptor, Kathleen Pritchard, I was able to develop a final project that incorporated my objectives for the field experience, as well as develop a useful tool for Data You Can Use. I created a descriptive map of liquor license locations and binge drinking prevalence rates throughout the City of Milwaukee. In addition, I created a report summarizing my findings from the map and presented my observations and recommendations to local stakeholders. To create my map, I utilized the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 500 Cities 2016 dataset of binge drinking prevalence rates throughout the City of Milwaukee. I then added data on liquor license locations from the City of Milwaukee Open Data Portal to the map and set an automatic refresh interval so that the liquor license data would remain up-to-date. From there, I color coded the map according to binge drinking prevalence and liquor license expiration dates.
Before starting at Data You Can Use, I had very limited experience working with mapping software, and I was worried I would not be able to complete the tasks outlined at the beginning of the summer. I am extremely thankful for the support and guidance provided by the Data You Can Use team, and I am very satisfied with the final product. I hope that community partners find my map useful when examining the relationship between binge drinking prevalence rates and liquor licenses within their own communities. In addition, I hope that my map provides data and information for stakeholders looking to take action against problematic liquor license establishments. I feel that my field experience was an extremely valuable opportunity, and I hope that the liquor license map created in collaboration with Data You Can Use will provide useful information for community partners in the future.
Some would think that a Bachelor’s in Digital Arts, would not be an ideal candidate for a data agency internship. Since I happen to possess such a degree, I had doubts about my application, considering I hadn’t opened Excel before 2017. As a graduate student in Urban Planning, I was just touching the surface when it came to U.S. Census data. Yet, when I sat down with Data You Can Use’s (DYCU) president Katie Pritchard for my interview, I immediately understood DYCU’s mission of connecting local organizations to data, helping them interpret the information and translating it to best serve their needs. To me this sounded exactly like my work in marketing and design. Presenting information in a clearer, more appealing way and helping the clients to reach their audience. Fortunately, Katie agreed that analysis and visualization, or “telling the story,” is needed in the data field. And so, I was brought on for an internship with DYCU. Initially, I supported projects with my skills in photography and design, but was also given opportunities to analyze data directly, which is useful for my intended career in planning. Challenges in this position were expected, but welcome. I was barely familiar with Excel coming in, but I was eager to learn more. I knew that would mean taking educated risks, and making mistakes repeatedly until I got it. However, that is how I learned design software – learning by doing, growing through exploration. This approach, building on small successes, has helped creative types like myself, develop great skills while minimizing frustration. My first project proved an excellent place for this technique. I had the opportunity to discover and identify themes in a survey that explored residents’ opinion on comfort in different neighborhoods. This was part of DYCU’s partnership with the National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership and the Turning the Corner initiative. At first, I attempted to use a method I learned in class: pivot tables! I realized that it was over complicated for what was needed. My right-side brain came into play, and I realized that I was overcompensating for what I was missing: tools. Creative tools I had, quantitative ones I lacked. I worked with Carrie, and together we looked for relevant data using simple conditional formatting. Excel became more relatable using basic tools and I was able to find some of the hidden story in the data which I initially missed by focusing on overly complicated method of analysis. A simple truth from the arts also rings true in data fields: the simplest tools work best. The next step was working with Katie, having discussions about what data would be useful and interesting, given our partner’s goals and perspectives. Outside of these challenges of interpreting data, there was great joy seeing where I could lead and offer visualizations to bolster projects. DYCU had been working with the Zilber Family Foundation’s neighborhood initiative to make data portraits for Clarke Square, Lindsay Heights and Layton Boulevard West. In a discussion with the staff of agencies who work in these neighborhoods, someone had the innovative idea to photograph key community destinations that would give context to the statistical data. Over the course of a few days I hopped on my bike and rode to explore each of the Zilber neighborhoods. Each neighborhood had unique opportunities for photos that held beauty and surprises. Some had murals that captured a neighborhood’s distinct culture and energy, others had points of interests ranging from the historic to the eclectic. Within each neighborhood, I found buildings nestled together that depicted the signs of change making its way through Milwaukee. Frequently, I found striking compositions in mom and pop shops situated next to national brand/big box stores. The images were interesting, but the story it could tell when paired with DYCU’s data is what really excited me. This photo project was deemed a success, and I had a second opportunity to look for images of gentrification in neighborhoods being researched by the Turning the Corner project. Katie provided guidance with questions based on qualitative data- what do residents, business owners and people who shop and play in neighborhoods think that gentrification looks like? The photo narratives I captured for the Turning the Corner neighborhoods documented signs of change, both positive and negative and stemmed from the ideas collected from residents and people who walk the streets in these neighborhoods. I intend for these images to honor how these communities have grown and simultaneously show what gentrification can erase: cultural history and sense of community. DYCU has not only been immensely generous over the course of my internship with their praise and use of my photographs in presentations and reports, their access by community organizations, but they have encouraged me to include more data inspired storytelling with my imagery. Photography can readily begin a conversation, but when paired with pointed and purposeful data it can become a catalyst for real long-term change. Thanks to the visual work I have done here on the Turning the Corner initiative, I presesnted a photo narrative on housing as a sign of neighborhood change for the Midwest Interdisciplinary Graduate School conference in February 2018. In summary, I find myself incredibly grateful for the experience afforded by DYCU and will continue to use everything I’ve learned in future projects!
This Spring, Data You Can Use sponsored a session at the Zilber School of Public Health highlighting three new sources of data that can help promote healthy neighborhoods. Participants included representatives from health clinics, hospitals, community development corporations, neighborhood organizations, the City Health Department, faculty and students from UWM and the Medical College of Wisconsin and United Way. The slides from the session are available on our reports and presentations page.
The session introduced participants to each other, to new data sources, and the potential of using these resources to improve neighborhood health. It began with a quick quiz on the connection between health and wealth. Most participants were aware that:
Many attendees were surprised to learn that according to the research, promoting economic growth doesn’t always correspond to improved health. However, investments in improved health and nutrition are associated with improved productivity and economic development.The three datasets we presented can be used to further explore this connection. They include:
CityHealth rates the 40 largest US cities on nine evidence-based policies that affect health. It offers information on nine policies, by city and by policy. For example, evidence shows that health outcomes can be affected by paid sick leave laws, high-quality, universal pre-kindergarten, affordable housing/inclusionary zoning policies, alcohol sales control, Tobacco 21 policies, healthy food procurement policies and complete streets policies. Each city gets a rating and some earn a bronze, medal or gold depending on the policy. Milwaukee received medals in three of the nine categories, suggesting there is much to be done.
The group was interested in the “data deep dive.” For each policy, the site provides the full codebook, the data and, of most interest, the evidence. This is a great resource for assuring funders, board members, public officials, and most importantly, the residents in your neighborhood, that there is some evidence that the policy will make a difference.
For dataphyles, this is an exciting new data set made available through the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the CDC. For people who care about health and neighborhood conditions, this is a tool to better understand and address health disparities.
Although there is a growing understanding of the impact of place on , there has only been limited data available at the county and city levels. And we know that county and even city level data masks the disparities that are so important to address.
Now, for the first time ever, we can access the 500 Cities database and see the differences at the census tract level! There are 27 variables, reflecting unhealthy behaviors, health outcomes, and preventative measures. In Wisconsin, the data are available for Milwaukee, Madison, Green Bay, Kenosha, Racine, Appleton and Waukesha. Using reliable small area estimations, we can compare Milwaukee to the state and national numbers, and for neighborhood enthusiasts, we can now compare neighborhoods within Milwaukee.
In a hyper-segregated city like Milwaukee, we are accustomed to seeing highly clustered data. The 500 Cities data reveal some interesting differences that should be affecting the way we target our resources. The MapBook for Milwaukee is available on our website and has each of the indicators mapped across the census tracts. For those who want to examine comparative areas, the actual data can be accessed and used interactively.
The Milwaukee Community Data Base is a portal to readily available data. The group explored how this could be used to identify housing built before 1951 and therefore more likely to have lead-based paint and/ or plumbing. Combining this with other available information could help identify local health needs and mobilize solutions. For a neighborhood group, the ability to match street addresses with both young children, and the threat of high blood lead levels, provides the ability to target education and water filter distribution.
The “quickie critique” suggested that the session was well received.
Besides a suggestion to add wine to the session (it was a Friday afternoon after all), one recommendation that came from several attendees was to provide more examples of how the data could be used.
At Data Day 2017 MKE last week, we posted the 500 Cities map for Milwaukee throughout the day and participants took a data walk, noting some patterns unlike our usual heatmaps. This group agreed: there is much to explore.
So… to get things started, we’ll be convening a group of interested stakeholders to form a “users group” to explore the use of health data at the neighborhood level. If you’d like to join us, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org before July 6th 2017 and we’ll find a time to get started!
Who and what are the people, places and things really make your neighborhood a great place to live, work and play?
This question is at the heart of neighborhood asset mapping, and was the focus of a workshop for neighborhood leaders presented by Data You Can Use this past fall. We held the event at the Washington Park Library Community Room, which is a great space for communal events. We appreciate our public libraries as an important asset for us and for people we work with, and Milwaukee Public Library is a great resource for books, information and a lot more!
I lead a session along with Carrie Koss Vallejo and Katie Pritchard. We decided to introduce the concept of Neighborhood Asset Mapping through a series of exercises:
As I was learning about asset mapping from them, it was great to rely on the attendees’ expertise while planning for the event, and to have them on hand during the day!
Neighborhood asset maps, or “Asset Based Community Development” is a term coined by the ABCD Institute out of Northwestern University. While a more detailed description can be found ts on their website, the basic rationale is this:
Without the capacity for change, neighborhood change may not happen. Focusing first on what assets a neighborhood has, and where the opportunities and gaps are can reduce the effort to make things happen, which increases a neighborhood’s capacity for change.
That statement sounds good, but what does that mean for a resident on a block?
Making change happen in a neighborhood takes effort, time and resources. One of the most important parts of any change process is to understand your existing resources so that you can build from what you have. This is really at the heart of the work of Data You Can Use and is what Neighborhood Asset Mapping is all about.
In short, asset mapping is a way to collaboratively identify and visually describe assets and to use them as the basis of building stronger, sustainable communities.
So who is neighborhood asset mapping for and who should use it? It is a tool for all stakeholders in a neighborhood or community. That includes residents, property owners, community organizations, community organizers and government. The collaborative process of asset mapping relies on the knowledge and insights of the residents and stakeholders who live and work in the community. The focus on identifying existing resources rather than deficits is more action oriented and can allow neighborhood residents to begin to link resources together and begin to address issues that have a more powerful effect.
It is common for neighborhoods that are struggling with a particular issue to work inside their neighborhood and seek outside funding and assistance to help make change happen. One of the challenges of working with multiple outside partners is this: what is valuable to a resident in a neighborhood is not always what appears valuable to outside eyes. While not always the case, DYCU believes strongly on a “resident-first” approach. When mapping assets, it is important to start with the voices of people who live and work in a neighborhood, then to bring in outside resources to help satisfy that identified want. This practice helps ensure that the needs of the community are clearly represented in community development work.
Data You Can Use has created asset maps, and some of those are available on our web site. Stay tuned for updates!
As much need or want as a neighborhood might have, identifying existing resources within the community is an important first step. We are excited about partnering with others to use asset mapping in neighborhood development and in further exploring ways to assure that the voice of people who live and work in a neighborhood is integral to the work.
We are pleased to share three new neighborhood level data portraits. In addition to the many interesting facts within the reports, the background and development process of these reports is worth sharing.
In September, data portraits were released for the City of Milwaukee’s Neighborhood Strategic Planning Areas. Now the template has been adopted by a second set of neighborhood data users representing Amani, Metcalfe Park and, which are Milwaukee’s Building Neighborhood Capacity Program (BNCP) areas. These reports highlight data chosen by community leaders, assembled by a data team, and now adopted by a second group of community organizers.
It can be a real challenge to try to show change in a neighborhood when the data can only be found at the city level. With data assistance, however, these organizations can use datasets like the American Community Survey (ACS) to inform their planning, and complement their observations and neighborhood knowledge.
To strengthen the partnership between those who need data and those who use data in Milwaukee, the Nonprofit Center convened a group of Neighborhood Strategic Planning Area (NSP) community organizers and worked with Data You Can Use staff, to develop a template of neighborhood data. These community organizers provided critical input by:
The template began with standard data points recommended by the data team, including population by race and poverty status. With input from the community organizers the template grew to include other data such as cost of rents and mortgages and the year housing units were built.
The adoption of the report by a second group of community organizers is a sign that the reports were created thoughtfully and that the data are useful. We at Data You Can Use will continue to collect feedback on what’s helpful to community builders and advocate for the use of data. But it’s important to take a moment to celebrate this shared effort, and thank the community organizers and residents who have contributed their time and shared their priorities.
So, thank you to: Danell Cross, Sister Patricia Rogers, Pepper Ray and Juanita Valcercal for their insights and questions when creating these new neighborhood data portraits.
Work on a project. Learn about data. Learn about new technology. Network with other Milwaukeeans working in data or tech. This is the weekly HackMKE Workshops, sponsored by the Milwaukee Community Database.
Mondays 5:30- 7:30 PM
Please note the LOCATION CHANGE!
Ward 4 – (Pritzlaff Building, Quarles & Brady Boardroom)
333 N. Plankinton Ave, Milwaukee, WI
Want to learn about something specific or share a topic? Let us know! This is a place for you to work on what your projects and learn more about data and technology that will help you and the City!
Data You Can Use Population Health Service Fellow, Salma Abadin, worked with the Healthier, Safer, More Prosperous Milwaukee leadership team to create an inventory to document current services and to potentially identify other partners and resources in the Milwaukee area. The inventory – Working Well Together: The Intersection of Public Health, Safety and Community Development in Milwaukee, WI – is the result of agencies and programs that were invited to complete a survey that describes their work and the partners they have in community/economic development, criminal justice/safety, and healthcare/public health.
The Wisconsin Center for Health Equity has the report on it’s website. With any questions, please contact Salma Abadin.