Sunday, July 20, 2014

Help Democratize Democracy!

A few days ago, I found a really cool project on Twitter called OpenElections, which is trying to create a master dataset of every certified election result in the US. It's gotten a chunk of critical acclaim, including a grant from the Knight Foundation (named for the founders of one of the biggest newspaper chains of the country). So far it's gotten records in 39 states dating back at least a decade, and is now looking to convert them into a computer-readable format for use in data analysis.

turning this... into this!

Scenic Corinth, MS, whose election
results I transcribed on Friday.
Photo from Corinth Main St. Alliance
As someone interested in statistics and politics, I saw huge potential for this project. So when I saw a chance tweet calling for volunteers, I got on to their github page and started submitting pull requests. It's really simple! This weekend I started working on the 2008 Presidential election, although I've still got a few counties to go. I can only imagine how useful this dataset could be, and it makes me feel proud to live in a country where an effort like this is even possible.

So go help democratize democracy, and help the open data movement! It's not very hard to transcribe a few documents, and your effort will aid a very promising project!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Quantifying Land Constraints in Boom Cities

Condo construction in Brickell, Miami.
Photo from southbeachcars on flickr
A few weeks ago, Stephen Smith (who runs Market Urbanism) was comparing the fates of Miami and Vancouver, two cities that have experienced massive housing construction booms. Both cities have grown tremendously... and grown upward. This comes in the face of major land constraints- the Everglades for Miami, and the Cascade Mountains for Vancouver. But how much do these barriers actually impact development?