This project is a collaboration between the University of Virginia Library, the UVA Equity Initiative, and the broader regional community to imagine and co-create a Charlottesville-Area Regional Equity Atlas, a platform to combine, visualize, and make accessible data about local disparities. An Equity Atlas serves as a data and policy tool for leaders and advocates to advance a more equitable community while helping citizens hold decision-makers accountable. In October, 2018, The UVA Library was awarded a 2-year, $150,000 planning grant to support the collaboration.

For the detail-oriented among us, these are the planned activities we laid out in the grant application. As a planning grant, and a project designed to be community-led, these activities may, of course, shift.

Planned Grant Activities (from the grant application)

Activity Area 1: Determining and prioritizing the data needs of community organizations related to regional inequity

  1. Review articulated needs from past community listening sessions
  2. Conduct additional interviews and listening sessions

Our intention is to work with IRICES and our core community partners to engage the broader community throughout the course of the grant. IRICES has already begun to gather local nonprofit leaders and equity advocates in an effort to generate ideas for “collaborative research for action.” Our grant will build on the work of identifying key opportunities for research needed to fuel collaborative equity interventions. Through listening sessions, focus groups, and interviews with those doing equity work, we will map community assets related to the following:

  • What regional equity issues are priorities for access to rich, shared data?
  • What organizations have relevant data, but lack the resources to analyze/share it?  What interventions could increase that capacity and allow them to contribute to an Equity Atlas?
  • Where can the University direct research resources (including student labor) to collect needed data for the community (and the Equity Atlas)?
  • What resources would the community require to sustain an Equity Atlas over time and ensure its continued utility?

Activity Area 2: Evaluating available tools that can empower nonprofits to gather, use, and share equity data more effectively

  1. Deepen our understanding of the network of national and international resources and organizations surrounding open data for cities and nonprofits. Map the assets those organizations provide, including data management services, grants and funding opportunities, educational resources
  2. Generate resource guides that can inform community partners and contribute to sustainable data sharing workflows for under-resourced organizations
  3. Conduct a Data Inventory, using the Data Inventory process defined by the Living Cities initiative as a core piece of our needs assessment and asset mapping. We plan to adapt the inventory to collect greater detail on the format of existing data, in order to assess areas in which organizations might require assistance in reformatting data to contribute to the Equity Atlas

Activity Area 3: Enhancing opportunity and capacity for organizations to gather, analyze and share data essential to redressing inequity

  1. Exploring a “science shop” model for directing University research to meet the needs of local equity organizations (throughout)
  2. Call for proposals from local organizations to contribute to the Equity Atlas
  3. Deploy student facilitators to build community skills and capabilities related to sharing their data, including working to gather, reformat, document, and license data, and/or to create and revise data management plans and procedures
  4. Provide workshops for the community on tools and methods of data management (months 6-12) and contributing to or using the Equity Atlas
  5. Additional calls for proposals from community partners, including solicitation of experts to create narratives around equity themes represented in the atlas

Activity Area 4: Exposing data that currently exists but is hard to access (including, but not limited to, data owned by and/or created at the University)

  1. Undertaking a campaign to engage faculty and students in depositing community-engaged scholarship and data into the Library’s institutional repository, including the development of relevant documentation, workshops, and sponsoring upload-a-thons
  2. Improving documentation and interoperability of the Library’s mechanisms for collecting and sharing data and geospatial information, especially the institutional repository and GeoBlacklight

Activity Area 5: Creating the foundation for the Charlottesville Regional Equity Atlas

  1. Applying minimal computing approach to the design of an Equity Atlas