Over 80% of the planet is affected by increased urbanization – a clarion call for evidence-based innovation to improve the resiliency, health, and well-being of cities and their inhabitants. To lead a focused response, the University of Washington (through a partnership between the UW eScience Institute and Urban@UW) and the University of British Columbia (through a partnership between UBC’s Data Science Institute and UBC’s Sustainability Initiative) have formed the Cascadia Urban Analytics Cooperative (CUAC), an applied, interdisciplinary, regional center that brings together academic researchers, students, and public stakeholder groups to address topics affecting citizens of the Cascadia region. The specific focus of the Cascadia Urban Analytics Cooperative is data science for social good in an urban context: high-impact data science and analytics projects that aim to understand and extract valuable actionable information out of data from urban environments in the Cascadia region at a neighborhood level.
Launched in early 2017 as part of the Microsoft-funded Cascadia Innovation Corridor, CUAC applies a fine-grained approach to data science through interdisciplinary partnerships with researchers and professors across fields such as public policy, urban planning, population health, civil engineering, landscape architecture, sociology, real estate, computer science and law. Working with nonprofit organizations, city planners and government agencies, CUAC projects combine Census statistics, open data, qualitative research, socioeconomic data and demographic information to generate research and findings with real-world context.