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Social Compact is a Washington, DC based nonprofit whose mission is to develop community data to foster private investment in lower-income communities. They operate on the premise that a significant reason for inner-city disinvestment is lack of good market information. Social Compact’s Neighborhood Market DrillDown has been cited by Ben Bernanke, Chairman of the Federal Reserve System, as an important use of data to demonstrate the economic potential of a neighborhood. With the recent credit and foreclosure crisis, the city of Detroit called on Social Compact to become its research arm and provide a variety of data, tools and models that will help government, as well as other stakeholders, in its efforts to establish adequate strategies for tackling the foreclosure crisis. Social Compact’s ability to mine and understand public and private data, its well-established relation with the public and private sector and its asset-based approach to understanding local urban issues situate this organization in a privileged position to set up an appropriate information platform.
Advances in web technologies and user interface design have provided Social Compact with the opportunity to dramatically increase the value and reach of their research by placing it more directly in front of a contingency of stakeholders with diverse needs. In many ways, it equates to a democratization of GIS by allowing a wide variety of stakeholders (many whom have never heard the term GIS) to be GIS practitioners rather than simply recipients. By providing intuitive and easily accessible analytical and visualization tools based on accurate and timely data, Social Compact can break down information barriers to facilitate coordinated and effective decision making among investors, government and communities.
This presentation will demonstrate some of the technologies and interfaces employed to allow users to filter, aggregate, relate and visualize millions of points of data in real time and discuss how this is building collaboration among government, philanthropic, private-sector, and non-for-profit community partners to provide a timely, pro-active approach to the growing foreclosure problem.
Tom Link is CTO at Universal Mind, a consultancy focused on building rich Internet applications (RIAs) for the enterprise.
Neba is the Associate Director of Research at Social Compact, a non-profit organization promoting investment in underserved urban communities. Beginning her career in academia, her dissertation work focused on defining and quantifying risk patterns associated with roadway accidents using Bayesian and Spatial modeling methods, and model-based visual representations. She enjoys building solutions to the challenges of community economic development, and the vibrant and creative atmosphere at her workplace.