Toward Identifying Values and Tensions in Designing a Historically-Sensitive Data Platform: A Case-Study on Urban Renewal

Urban renewal was a national initiative from 1960s through 70s aimed at improving so-called “blighted” areas, and resulted in the displacement of many vibrant communities. While the underlying mechanisms of urban renewal have been examined, there have been very few data-driven, evidence-based studies that take into account the histories and interests of former residents. The “Human Face of Big Data” project started as a digital curation effort to design and develop a web-based, big data platform that provides insights and analytics into the mechanisms of this process. However, it was found from user feedback that designing these kinds of platforms is not straightforward; rather it needed to be carefully approached as diverse values and tensions exist surrounding the design of a historically-sensitive data system. This paper aims to report on the digitization and initial system design processes, and provide a preliminary design framework constructed using a top-down approach. This framework can be used to examine possible dimensions of design concerns for historically-sensitive data platforms by system designers. Also, human-computer interaction (HCI) and archival science researchers can potentially benefit from this new perspective that considers both value sensitivity and archival values.

[To Appear] iConference 2018 Proceedings, March 25-28, Sheffield, U.K.
Myeong Lee
Shiyun Chen
Yuheng Zhang
Edel Spencer
Richard Marciano