Colloquium: Jess Kropczynski (Pennsylvania State): Using Human-Centered Data Analytics to Enhance Smart and Connected Cities


"Smart cities" leverage big data analytics to improve the outcomes of municipal operations and are finding new ways to capitalize on information generated by sensors in the internet of things. Decision-makers and community organizations are often excited about the possibilities for utilizing these data to enhance local services, but often thwarted by misalignments with their own decision-making needs. Likewise, the emergence of social media?based online discussion forums creates new opportunities for engaging citizens in the policymaking process, but citizens continue to report that they do not feel that their involvement is meaningful or necessary. This study shows that user experiences with spatial, temporal, and social data in civic technology can be enhanced through facilitated engagement that matches best practices in deliberative democracy. The State of Oregon has adopted an innovative way of publicly evaluating statewide ballot initiatives so voters will have clear, useful, and trustworthy information. The research presented in this talk will describe the iterative adaptation of the Oregon model to a local context through the design of an online system and facilitation strategy for collective information analysis of community issues. Further, it will describe a human-data interaction (HDI) approach to better leverage local information through smart city infrastructure through lessons learned while carrying out pilot tests in partnership with a local municipal government. The online system shows promise as a tool for encouraging groups within communities to work together to analyze documents and produce brief but useful summaries of information for others in the community. Analyzing citizens? use of this system highlights patterns of activity and inactivity that indicate design problems inherent in using data to engage citizens. Overall, this work increases understanding of the social and technical implications of technology designed to increase connectivity and information flows among citizens and decision-makers.

Jess Kropczynski, PhD is a faculty member in the College of Information Sciences and Technology at the Pennsylvania State University. Her research interests include methods and theory in human-data interaction and human-centered design, particularly as applied to smart and connected cities, collective action in community networks, and the design of civic technology. She has worked with local and state governments to assess communication and information needs of target audiences in order to promote informed decision-making. Her recent work has been with the GeoDeliberation Project, which is a partnership with the State College Borough Government to develop an online platform to help citizens interact more directly with planners and decision-makers. In addition to this platform she has worked on the design and assessment of mobile apps for community engagement.

UTA 5.522

7:15am to 8:45am


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