University of Pittsburgh
June 3, 2013

Pitt Conference Addresses Information Sharing and the Use of Data to Improve Communities in Allegheny County

Anyone interested in learning how to use Pitt’s interactive database of property and neighborhood conditions is welcome to attend the free June 7 conference
Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH—For years, citizens, public officials, and researchers aiming to improve communities in Allegheny County have used the University of Pittsburgh’s Pittsburgh Neighborhood and Community Information System, an interactive database detailing property and neighborhood conditions.

Those interested in learning how to use data to make their community a better place are welcome to attend the fourth annual Pittsburgh Neighborhood and Community Information System Users’ Conference, which will be held 1-4:30 p.m. Friday, June 7, at Pitt’s University Club, 123 University Place, Oakland. The free public conference is cosponsored by Pitt’s University Center for Social and Urban Research (UCSUR), the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, and the Pittsburgh Partnership for Neighborhood Development.

The conference will feature a keynote address by Greg Sanders, an information architect at the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, who will discuss how information is shared by municipal governments across the Chicago metropolitan region. He will also share how this information has been used to improve the lives of Chicago-area residents and the quality of that region’s communities.

“When governments openly share information, good things happen,” said Robert Gradeck, research specialist in Pitt’s UCSUR and project manager of the Pittsburgh Neighborhood and Community Information System. “In Chicago, many residents began to use information openly shared by the city, county, and other local governments to improve their lives and communities in new and unexpected ways, and we’ve also seen these types of things happen here in Pittsburgh. At this conference, Mr. Sanders will discuss many of these positive outcomes related to data sharing and also will offer advice on how governments and other organizations can effectively share information.”

Sanders’ lecture will be followed by a moderated discussion and a question/answer session. Local projects that have made effective use of information sharing in Pittsburgh will be present. Attendees also will have the opportunity to network at a poster and demonstration session.

Those wishing to attend the conference may register via phone (412-624-9177), e-mail (pncis@pitt.edu), or on the conference’s website 

About Pitt’s University Center for Social and Urban Research
Pitt’s University Center for Social and Urban Research was established in 1972 with a mandate to “bring together, in an organized and integrated fashion, the many research activities and some of the service activities of the University of Pittsburgh which focus on the urban phenomenon.” The center provides state-of-the-art research and support services for investigators interested in interdisciplinary research in the behavioral and social sciences. Center staff have been involved in hundreds of externally funded research projects and peer-reviewed publications, published more than a dozen books, and received major national awards. Faculty from different disciplines have participated in the center’s programs in such areas as risk and emergency management, environmental policy studies, intergenerational relationships, child development, gerontology, survey research, geographic information systems and visual analytics, and qualitative data analysis. The center now occupies its seventh different campus location (located at 3343 Forbes Ave., Oakland) and continues to expand. 

About the Pittsburgh Neighborhood and Community Information System
The Pittsburgh Neighborhood and Community Information System is a property information system of the Urban and Regional Analysis Program within Pitt’s University Center for Social and Urban Research. These researchers collect integrated information on community conditions and provide it to local stakeholders to promote community development efforts in the Pittsburgh region.

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Written by Melissa Carlson