Intro – Week One

The readings for this week posed a basic overview of the current housing predicament, by presenting factual data and defining the types of affordable housing. The CUP booklet presents a detailed account of all the different types of affordable housing, including their history, budget, number of units and current status. The booklet is accompanied by an interactive toolkit, which allows community organizer to collaborate with an audience to physically map out the data, rendering it as a more tangible and relatable crisis. The Huffington post article presents a series of maps and graphs detailing the progression of rent and affordable housing in NYC. It leaves the viewer with a strong understanding of the dire situation many New Yorkers are faced with today. We thought the third article by Christine Cress on What is Service Learning, provided a more pedagogical thrust to the previous data driven articles. This pedagogical approach will help frame our in-class discussion.

We think it’s important to personally situate ourselves as part of a pedagogical approach to understanding the crisis of affordable housing and our role in possible solutions. Based on our personal experiences and after reading these articles, we have organized our progression of understanding as such:

1) predicament
2) news/media
3) data
4) visualization
5) interactive
6) service learning

Understanding the interplay of these 6 layers will allow us to formulate an action plan. For example, the Huffington post article would be considered mainstream media, which is readily consumable and presents easily accessible data. If we compare it to the CUP article, which is more pedagogical due to its interactive component, we can begin to qualify best practices in community based learning.

Is data visualization effective enough for collective learning? What is our role? (intentions)

When analyzing data driven material, it is important to step back from the collective generalization and celebrate areas of personal intentions and values. While data visualization is a useful tool it needs to present a keen awareness of specifications to avoid stigmatization. A designers, how can we find a balance between personal values and collective intentions? How does the visualization of data spur activism and create solidarity?

– Sinead & Monique