The Quantified Community at Red Hook: Urban Sensing and Citizen Science in Low-Income Neighborhoods

Constantine E. Kontokosta, Nicholas Johnson, Anthony Schloss

The Quantified Community (QC)--a long-term neighborhood informatics research initiative--is a network of instrumented urban neighborhoods that collect, measure, and analyze data on physical and environmental conditions and human behavior to better understand how neighborhoods and the built environment affect individual and social well-being. This initiative is intended to create a data-enabled research environment to rigorously study the complex interactions in urban neighborhoods. The QC has initially launched in three very distinct areas in New York City: at Hudson Yards, a ground-up "city-within-a-city" of approximately 20 million square feet in Manhattan, in collaboration with the Related Companies; in Lower Manhattan, a mixed-use neighborhood that attracts residents, workers, and visitors, in collaboration with the Alliance for Downtown NY; and in Red Hook, Brooklyn, an economically-distressed community facing significant development and demographic changes, in partnership with the Red Hook Initiative. This paper describes our recent pilot project to deploy novel urban sensors in Red Hook to collect and analyze quality-of-life measurements at high spatial and temporal resolution. This effort is complemented by a citizen science initiative to engage local residents in the data collection and problem-solving process to drive evidenced-based community decision-making and improve local and city governance.

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