Community Informatics

A Tool for Estimating and Visualizing Poverty Maps

"Poverty maps" are designed to simultaneously display the spatial distribution of welfare and different dimensions of poverty determinants. The plotting of such information on maps heavily relies on data that is collected through infrequent national household surveys and censuses. However, due to the high cost associated with this type of data collection process, poverty maps are often inaccurate in capturing the current deprivation status.

Human Face of Big Data

This project aims to build a map-based platform that presents historical documents of the nation-wide, urban renewal project in 1960's and 70's and to provide easy-to-use interfaces that can be used by former residents, archivists, researchers, and citizens. Ultimately, this platform aims to reconstruct a virtual neighborhood where people can share their memories by creating social networks of former residents.

Mapping Inequality

Over the past four years, teams of archivists have digitized portions of National Archives RG195: General Records of the Home Owners’ Loan Corporation [HOLC]. The records include surveys, memorandums, and maps of American neighborhoods in the 1930’s. Now that the records are available digitally, students and faculty members are working to curate the collection and “data-fy” the information contained within.

This Is Not Just a Café: Toward Capturing the Dynamics of Urban Places

Social media has provided a huge amount of user-generated data in capturing urban dynamics. Among them, place-level human behavior has been largely detected through people’s check-in records at certain places. Conventionally, places are characterized by a set of pre-defined features, often specified by the owner of the places. In this paper, we argue that capturing socially-meaningful features and dynamics of an urban place may also be done by analyzing human activity traces.

On Information Deserts

Information accessibility problems include diverse types of human- and system-driven barriers that make it difficult for individuals to access desired information. These issues have been studied in two main streams: (1) a human-centered view based on the understand­ing of individual-level characteristics such as physical impairment and economic status, and (2) a technology-focused view that emphasizes system-based factors such as the information filtering techniques and interface designs.

Information Behavior of International Students Settling in an Unfamiliar Geo-spatial Environment

This paper presents the findings from a project about how international students seek and acquire information during their settlement in an unknown geo-spatial environment. Through semi-structured interviews, questionnaires, and cognitive mapping with twenty international students, this study examines their information needs, information sources, and settlement experiences in the host country.

"I know where that is": Cultural Differences in Perception of New Places

This research project had been conducted for my master's thesis (Master of Information Management degree). I conceptualized cultual background with Hall's high- and low-context culture (1976) and tried to see whether people's perceptions of urban places vary between physical addresses and symbolic representations of spaces (landmarks), when their cultural backgrounds were different. A survey questionnaire was used to measure cultural background, and a web-based online game was used to measure people's perceptions of places.

"What Makes a Place More Familiar?": Implications of Geospatial Information Format and Content

Geo-local systems can significantly increase users' familiarity with new places. However, for these systems to be useful, geospatial information needs to be presented in ways that those systems can minimize users' difficulties of learning about a new place. This raises a fundamental question about what kinds and representations of geospatial information are effective in making a place more familiar, so that people can adjust to the place more easily even before visiting the unfamiliar world.

Cozy Street Blocks

This was the final project of the "Theories and Practices in Intelligent Convergence Systems" class from the Graduate School of Convergence Science and Technology in 2009. The goal of this system was (1) to grow plants in an urban environment in a controlled way; (2) to change urban places into eco-friendly and entertaining spaces; and (3) to make use of street blocks as a medium for providing urban information to citizens. Our team of students presented designs of the software/hardware architectures of the blocks and user scenarios. 

Our team received A+ in this course.