This Interdisciplinary Research Cluster (IRC) aims to complete and disseminate an online data visualization tool to be used by community members in the Olneyville neighborhood of Providence, RI. The tool, called VECINA (Visualizing Environmental and Community Information for Neighborhood Advocacy, Spanish for “Neighbor”), is built on top of a neighborhood map, and includes layers with data concerning environmental and flooding problems, health care resources, and K-12 education. The resulting webpage will be in both English and Spanish, and will provide community members with access to their own neighborhood data that they can use to advocate for policy changes as well as make individual decisions. In addition to quantitative data, the layers include narratives that provide the context, a critical element that is often missing in similar tools.
The IRC includes a mix of technical experts and members of the community that the tool will serve. The partnership was facilitated by Nuevas Voces, a leadership development program in Olneyville sponsored by the Woonasquatucket River Watershed Council (WRWC). In addition to completing the tool, an outcome of this IRC will be the collaborative process that led to its development. Upon completion, the tool will be handed over to WRWC and Nuevas Voces.