Connected Communities

A Ugandan woman uses DevCAFE to provide feedback on effectiveness of family planning training program.

The CITRIS Connected Communities Initiative supports collaborative discovery, design, and governance through new technologies that enhance education, creative work, and public engagement.

Featured Projects

Digital Refuge: Aggregating And Visualizing Asylum Seeker And Host Community Concerns

Principal investigators: Katherina Linos (UC Berkeley) and Anupam Chander (UC Davis)

PhD Student Researchers: Melissa Carlson (UC Berkeley) and Laura Jakli (UC Berkeley)

Unexpected crises, frequent policy reversals, and miscommunication have characterized the European response to the largest refugee crisis since World War II. In this crisis-driven policy space, information sharing has become increasingly difficult: governments and aid organizations do not know what refugees need most until the last minute, while asylum seekers fail to understand and benefit from key protections. Digital Refuge streamlines and structures information for local stakeholders of diverse types including refugees, NGOs aid agencies, and the Greek authorities and provides data visualizations to better enable stakeholders’ understanding of which concerns are becoming more salient, enabling all stakeholders to better plan accordingly. Check out the latest report on Digital Refuge’s progress here.


Fidget Toys Aren’t Just Hype.

Katherine Isbister, Professor of Computational Media at UC Santa Cruz, explains how fidget spinners support managing attention and keeping calm. Read her article here.


APPCIVIST

Recipient of Chancellor’s Award for Public Service 2015-16 for Campus-Community collaboration with the City of Vallejo

AppCivist is a platform for democratic assembly and collaborative decision-making. It helps people tackle problems in their communities, discuss and decide on ideas for solutions, turn ideas into proposals, edit and vote on proposals, and follow their implementation. It features both modular functionalities and interoperable services. AppCivist can facilitate ideation and help participants make better arguments through versioning, visualization, and collaborative deliberation.  It encourages both on and off-line collaboration, addressing problems of scale in processes of direct democracy for small and large communities. More…


MyPart

MyPart empowers communities with access to accurate, personal, portable, airborne particle counting.  At less than $50, this small wearable sensor allows communities to measure and report air quality consistent with many professional air quality measurement devices.


The CAFE System

The Collaborative Assessment and Feedback Engine (CAFE) is an open source, e-participation platform that provides participants dynamic visual feedback about their position on key social issues, relative to other participants. The platform applies statistical models and collaborative filtering to rapidly discover emerging trends as data is collected. By fostering open-ended dialogue and facilitating a more nuanced assessment of public opinion about complex issues, CAFE enables more informed organizational decisions while increasing participant engagement in decision-making processes.


The Pacific Research Platform

CITRIS is co-leading development of the Pacific Research Platform (PRP), a science-driven, high-capacity and data-centric “freeway system” on a large regional-scale. Once complete, the PRP will give California’s education and research communities the ability to move data 1,000 times faster than today’s speeds. Faculty throughout the UC system are testing the platform with data-intensive applications such as gravitational wave detection, galaxy formation and evolution, cancer genomics, climate change and carbon sequestration with the goal of accelerating data-intensive research on a national and eventually global scale.

More info at http://pacificresearchplatform.org


2017 Seed Funding Recipients

Democratizing Civic Expression Video Games

Principal investigators: Michael Mateas and Noah Wardip-Fruin (UC Santa Cruz), Michael Neff (UC Davis)
Initiative: Connected Communities

Games are an increasingly important medium for our society, especially for youth. 97% of teens play video games. The time youth spend playing video games nearly tripled in the years 1999-2009 (from 26 minutes a day to 1:13) while overall media use increased only fractionally (from 6:19 to 7:38). Unfortunately, while many other forms of media have seen their creation and distribution radically democratized, video games have not. Because even the easiest to use video game-making tools require significant engagement with the details of behavior programming and the creation of images and animations, only a small handful of the population (and very few youth) can use games to express themselves. So as games become an increasingly prominent medium, the overall democratizing trend in media is being reversed, and video games about political topics are largely only produced by those with significant resources. This project will provide compelling evidence that it is possible to reverse this trend, and make civic expression through video games broadly accessible, especially for the youth who are making games an increasingly central part of their media lives. We will do this by creating the first prototype of a game creation system that drives all three key elements of game expression (mechanics, structure, and surface expression) from an underlying rhetorical structure specified by authors. In doing so, we will build upon key successes of past PI research. We believe this work has high potential for follow-on funding from research funders, foundations, and media platforms.


Digital Refuge: Aggregating and Visualizing Asylum Seeker and Host Community Concerns

Digital Refuge: Aggregating And Visualizing Asylum Seeker And Host Community Concerns

Principal investigators: Katherina Linos (UC Berkeley) and Anupam Chander (UC Davis)
Initiative: Connected Communities

Unexpected crises, frequent policy reversals, and miscommunication have characterized the European response to the largest refugee crisis since World War II. In this crisis-driven policy space, information sharing has become increasingly difficult: governments and aid organizations do not know what refugees need most until the last minute, while asylum seekers fail to understand and benefit from key protections. Across Europe, a variety of rumor-trackers, hoax maps, and social media sites have been established in response to this crisis. However, this information is dispersed; much of it is posted, for example, in the form of individual refugee queries or within weekly NGO newsletters. Our objective is to scrape this information from a variety of social media and websites, organize it chronologically and geographically, and synthesize it and translate it into Greek and Arabic. Our end product will serve to communicate with local stakeholders of diverse types including refugees, NGOs aid agencies, and the Greek authorities. Our data visualizations will facilitate these stakeholders understanding of which concerns are becoming more salient at particular times and places and plan accordingly.


Forest Management Approaches In The Southern Sierra Nevada Ecoregion: Developing A Photographic Mapping Survey To Communicate Climate Change

Principal investigators: Jeffrey Jenkins (UC Merced), Brett Milligan (UC Davis), Teenie Matlock (UC Merced), Anne Kelly (UC Merced)
Initiative: Connected Communities

National parks, forests and public lands provide opportunities for people to interact with nature that can improve human well-being through mental health, identity, and connectedness. However, forest systems are vulnerable to disturbances such as wildfire, drought, and disease, and as these landscapes change so do the values, activities and the management approaches that sustain them. In the southern Sierra Nevada ecoregion, warming and variability in the amount and timing of precipitation has led to decreased snow pack, and mega-fires with historically unprecedented severity resulting in unexpected succession outcomes. With these climate change impacts the legal landscape is evolving to reflect the importance of our reliance on the resilience of the ecosystem services provided by the forests and watersheds of the State. For example, watersheds are now legally defined as part of the water infrastructure in California. Different agencies use different management approaches with regard to climate change, visitor use, fire suppression, prescribed fire, surface water storage projects and pro-active resources management practices. These approaches are valued differently by those who manage public lands or those who recreate on these lands, while at the same time, we all rely on the natural infrastructure and ecosystem services of these areas. We propose to develop the Comparative Adaptive Management and Ecosystem Response Assessment (CAMERA) to photographically survey the preferences of the forest community associated with resilient or vulnerable landscapes, the management projects used to sustain them, and to communicate impacts of climate change on regional public lands and watersheds.


Focus Areas

  • Participatory Platforms and Social Apps
  • Interactive Media
  • Connected Devices
  • Online Learning Communities
  • Crowdsourcing
  • Communitysourcing
  • Open Data
  • Privacy and Security
  • Digital Governance