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Data science with communities in the loop

Headshot of Madeleine Daepp

Madeleine Daepp


Communities most affected by societal challenges hold expertise that can help researchers better understand society's most important challenges. In this talk, I'll describe three projects that used different collaborative methods to bring communities into the data science process. First, The Moving Mapper was an initiative of the participatory action Healthy Neighborhoods Project in which residents of nine Boston neighborhoods guided the creation of a map of displacement in Massachusetts.  Second, Project Eclipse was a collaboration with city agencies and community-based environmental organizations to deploy a network of over 100 low-cost sensors across Chicago, IL. Finally, recent fieldwork with civic technology and factchecking organizations in Taiwan surfaced the changing data and tooling needs of organizations on disinformation's frontlines. In describing these three projects, I'll surface the opportunities of community-engaged data science as well as the missing methods and social infrastructure needed to better foster equitable and effective collaborations.

Dr. Madeleine I. G. Daepp is a senior researcher on the Special Projects team at Microsoft Research. Her research is characterized by multi-sectoral collaborations to solve problems in shared public space. Her research has been published across disciplines including urban planning, public health, and computer science.  As the token urban planning researcher at Microsoft Research, a key focus of her work is in bridging the divide between the promise of new technologies and data and the needs of communities. She holds a PhD from MIT, an MSc from the University of British Columbia - Vancouver, and a BA from Washington University in St. Louis.