Week 5: Final Project Draft

This week I worked on building the website to host the community board meeting notes.

I started by making a basic site and based the scroll bar feature off of one of Allison Parrish’s examples in p5.js. I started by adding structure for the labels.

Screenshot 2019-03-04 16.00.45.png

Then I added text and the numbers for tuning. At first I had whole numbers, but then I decided to replace the numbers with dots for every five so that there was more space.

Screenshot 2019-03-04 17.02.58.png

Finally color (I am still playing around with this)!

Screenshot 2019-03-04 17.29.00.png

Finally, I added some example sounds to test out how the scroll feature would work. So far, the Brooklyn #1 and Bronx #1 stations work. Right now you can view the website on github pages: https://lydiajessup.github.io/nycb-radio/

The full code is on github here.

Next I need to:

  • replace the black box with a razzle dazzle pattern

  • upload real meeting notes

Week 3: Ecosystem Mapping

This week our assignment was to pick an issue/topic area for our final project and create an ecosystem map. Our final assignment is to “Create a product prototype or installation that either A) provides more efficient government services or advances human rights or B) that addresses or comments on the growing various threats that technology poses civil society.”

I have chosen A, to create a prototype that provides more efficient government services. In particular, I am focusing on civic engagement through community boards in New York City.


Below is a spreadsheet I made with my ecosystem map following the guide above (click to enlarge). I plan to continue to revise this as I learn more about this topic (you’ll see some spots are blank). You can also view the google sheet version here. I relied heavily on the NYC Community Board about page to make this.

Taking this into consideration, below are some responses to the final questions in the ecosystem mapping process:

What does the space need? One clear need is greater diversity and attendance at community board meetings. The flip side of this need is better methods to engage and communicate with residents. For residents, a need is easier access to information and transparency in the governance system.

What are the structural gaps? The model of showing up in person in order to access information and share your opinion is designed for a small town before the internet, not a busy metropolitan and modern city. Right now the notes from community board meetings are online, but the interface is cumbersome and difficult to navigate. I also wonder if there is an internal issue management system for boards to keep track of and elevate issues.

What are the biggest opportunities to create value? Either as a way to add value to someone else’s endeavor or as a standalone project? I would like to focus on access to information from community board meetings for residents. I think that increasing access could also help increase engagement and interest in community boards and local issues.

How can you help them? How can they help you? I believe I can contribute my coding and design skills to create a New York Community Board (NYCB) Radio website. To start, community board notes in a text file format instead of pdf would be a huge help! Or audio recordings!

Week 0: Statement of Purpose

In college I studied International Relations and after I graduated I moved to Peru where I worked for an NGO with a community health worker program. I was set on a career in diplomacy and had even already passed the Foreign Service Officer Test. I then moved to Lima to work for Innovations for Poverty Action, a development policy research group. During my time there I assisted with the evaluation of a text messaging platform to build trust and mitigate conflicts between community members and mining companies. This was the first time I saw firsthand how technology can be used as a social justice tool.

I found this work interesting and rewarding, but moved by the Black Lives Matter movement, I felt called to work on social issues in my own country. This led me to the UChicago Crime Lab where I worked as a Research Manager for three years on evaluations of youth violence prevention programs. I loved this work, especially collaborating with city agencies to make progress on the city’s most pressing challenges. But I also I saw how far behind the public sector is in terms of technology, which motivated me to teach myself coding and audit classes at UChicago and is what ultimately led me to ITP.

I believe that the next technological revolution needs to be in governance. Most questions people ask about technology are about how we can be more efficient, have access to more information, or get to places faster, but these are tools, not ends in themselves. Instead, I think we need to ask: how do we design systems that enable our best humanity? Technology is not capable of building just and equitable social systems on its own. That ability and responsibility is ours.