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September 2018 Newsletter

Smart Cville promotes the use of technology and data to help communities find innovative solutions by facilitating the exchange of ideas between civic institutions and citizens.

In this issue:

  • Supporting UVA's Equity Atlas Grant
  • Virginia School Discipline Project Expansion Press Release
  • Teaser: We're hiring soon
  • Building Permits Dataset, A Vital Resource for a Growing Community

Supporting UVA's Equity Atlas Grant

Congratulations to the University of Virginia Library on receiving a grant to use and make available data about equity in our community. We're proud to be supporting this endeavor.

"The University of Virginia Library is embarking on a new effort to collaborate with the larger Charlottesville community and a University Equity Initiative to imagine and co-create a Charlottesville-Area Regional Equity Atlas, a platform to combine, visualize, and make accessible data about local disparities. An Equity Atlas serves as a data and policy tool for leaders and advocates to advance a more equitable community while helping citizens hold decision-makers accountable. The UVA Library was recently awarded a 2-year, $150,000 grant to support the collaboration...The UVA Library is excited to work with the Equity Initiative and the regional community to create an Equity Atlas that will serve as a useful tool for educators, non-profits, advocacy groups, policy makers, and the public. The Library team is particularly grateful to the City of Charlottesville, the Adiuvans Foundation, the United Way-Thomas Jefferson Area, and Smart Cville for their support in securing this funding."

Read the full news release from UVA.
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Virginia School Discipline Project Expansion Press Release

As we alluded to last month, this project team has been working hard! Next steps for them is to improve the tool and work on open sourcing it for others to use.

“With new school discipline laws in effect this school year, it is more important than ever for parents and students to be aware of their rights in school,” said Rachael Deane, Legal Director of the JustChildren Program at the Legal Aid Justice Center (LAJC). “This resource provides easy-to-navigate resources for all parents to help their children succeed.”

Almost a year ago, a team of civic innovators in Charlottesville released the tool for the entire state, but with local resources only for Central Virginia families. Now, thanks to Smart Cville, LAJC, and a volunteer-led project team, these local resources have also been added for Richmond Public Schools, Chesterfield County Public Schools, and Petersburg City Public Schools. Additional Richmond-area resources are expected to be released in the upcoming months."

Petersburg's Progress-Index story: Virginia School Discipline Project expands to Petersburg

Teaser: We're hiring soon

We're hoping to grow in 2019! To do so, we intend to hire a part-time program coordinator. We're finalizing the details and job description but look to see a job posting from us next month.

If you or someone you know is excited about our mission and interested in flexible, part-time work, be sure to have them follow us or send me an email (lucas@smartcville.com).
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Building Permits Dataset, A Vital Resource for a Growing Community

Over the past month, I've been working on a side project to map new residential building permits in the City of Charlottesville. I've been bumbling my way through R and leveraging the impressive and nearly live data from the City's Open Data Portal. Along the way, I've worked alongside City staff to make the dataset even more useful and robust. They've supported me with little things like converting some of the data fields to the date format instead of string to allow for better querying. Thank you!

Hopefully, I'll have something to share soon... More importantly, I want to encourage other civic innovators to dig into this rich dataset and leverage the massive amount of information in it. I think we can glean a tremendous amount about our growing community from this resource. If you want to collaborate or have an idea/project to share, please let us know!

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