Sustainable Seattle: Urban Transportation & Accessibility
One of the top priorities in Seattle neighborhoods is accessible public transportation and walkable communities. This also matches with the goal outlined in Seattle’s comprehensive plan to reduce single occupancy vehicles in the city as well as the Mayor’s Climate Change Initiative- to reduce green house gas impacts. In order for us to understand this issue better, we would like maps created that indicate distances to key destinations (within walking, biking, or bus routes). Secondly, we would like some analysis such as the development of an indicator (example) % of neighborhood population within 5 minutes walking of main business district, bus stop, grocery stores, etc. We would like the team working on this project to explore accessibility using GIS and maps.
Sustainable Seattle: Mapping Indicators of Healthy Business
One of the top priorities identified in Seattle neighborhoods is having healthy, thriving business districts. A few of the indicators (measures) that have been linked to this theme include mix of businesses, hours of operations, and presence of local businesses versus chain stores. This project would require some actual data collection (using established methodology) in a handful of Seattle neighborhoods (number to be determined based on how time/labor intensive the data collection process is, so that this project is reasonable for the student team’s workload); determining a way of geocoding these data into a GIS, organizing a well-structured geodatabase for handling your data. Finally, you would need to develop a series of maps of the three types of indicators listed above, with basic analysis of the findings. If you are interested in a project that gets you outdoors and out in the city in addition to your lab-based GIS work, this is the project for you!
Seattle Parks and Recreation, Department of Urban Forestry:
Predicting Species Composition in Seattle Parks Restoration Sites
Seattle Parks and Recreation is interested in developing a predictive model for species composition to be planted in restoration sites in Seattle parks. This would entail adapting a number of available data sets to a model that you will create, then comparing its predictions to Chappell plant community data for the Pacific Northwest. The model would be able to tell restorationists what types of plants to install in specific sites, and hopefully increase the efficiency and success of restoration projects in Seattle parks.While this project would not produce a hard-copy map, the finished product would be a model that data for specific restoration sites could be applied to for future site determination. The main questions Urban Forestry would like to answer are:
What is an appropriate raster size for a predicative vegetation
What is largest appropriate unit size to define a restoration site if
using points and not polygons?
Can we predict desired Chappell plant community for restoration sites
based on existing data sets?
In answering these questions, you would contribute to a more efficient implementation of restoration in Seattle parks. Plants could be purchased and installed with more success, allowing the volunteer operations to be more effective.
University of Washington Extension: GIS and Non Profits: Using
GIS to Secure Funding & Improve Customer Service
While GIS has long been used in the public and private sectors, the non profit sector has turned to GIS more recently. Non profit organizations that use GIS range from large organizations with a national or international scope, to very small organizations that work in areas as small as a single neighborhood. Many of these groups experience difficulty in gaining access to GIS training that is tailored to the unique kinds of GIS applications that they undertake (for many non profit organizations, access to hardware, software and appropriate spatial data is also a challenge). The University of Washington Extension program is interested in offering a 2-3 day workshop on GIS for non profits, at which participants will learn what GIS is, how it works, and what kinds of GIS applications non profit organizations might find useful to support their work.
Facing the Future: Analyzing Program Areas & Service Needs
Facing the Future is a Seattle-based non profit organization that provides educational materials and teacher training nationwide, focusing on environmental issues, population, and sustainability. The goal of these activities is to develop “…young people’s capacity and commitment to create thriving, sustainable, and peaceful local and global communities.” (http://www.facingthefuture.org) We are interested in project that will develop assess the spatial patterns of our outreach efforts across the U.S. and the users of our materials. Ideally, we would like to develop a database in which we can track our outreach locations and users on an ongoing basis, for future mapping and analysis beyond this project.
UW Geography & Sociology: Spatial dynamics of Homelessness
& Affordable Housing
Faculty from Geography and Sociology are working collaborative research in which they would like to learn more about the changing landscape of affordable housing in downtown Seattle, as well as of real estate values more generally. Many discussions of homelessness cite the loss of affordable housing -- and especially the loss of single-room occupancy hotels (“SROs”) -- as the explanation for why it emerged in the 70's. In this project, you would need to determine several relevant variables that you and the faculty researchers agree are useful in measuring or examining affordable housing in downtown (real estate values, changing rental costs, either one of these compared with median incomes, or loss of SROs). Your next step will be to acquire or create spatial data sets needed to explore these variables and their spatial characteristics in the Seattle area, especially in downtown. The final step will be producing a series of maps that illustrate these characteristics.
Solid Ground: Food
Security in Seattle and King County
Solid Ground is a social justice, advocacy, and service organization that operates a wide range of food, housing, transportation, and seniors programs. To support the work of their food programs, they are interested in developing spatial data and maps that will help them understand and illustrate patterns of food security (and insecurity) in King County, especially South King County. People living in low income communities may face several problems in gaining reliable access to food resources and in having access to healthy affordable food. In many cases, geographical dispersion of food resources is a partial cause, compounded by limited transportation options to get to food banks, distant grocery stores, etc. There is a growing literature, academic and popular, on issues of food security, and you will tap this literature as you learn more about food security to inform your work on this project. This project will involve developing spatial data and a series of maps and analyses at different scales and resolutions.
Link: Community Fruit Tree Harvest
The Community Fruit Tree Harvest, a project of Lettuce Link at Solid Ground (formerly the Fremont Public Association) envisions a substantial mapping project pertaining to issues surrounding food security, historical agriculture, and community development. The Community Fruit Tree Harvest (CFTH) brings homegrown apples, pears, and plums from private household owners to local food banks, meal programs, and senior housing facilities with support from Seattle Tilth and dedicated volunteers. In it second year, the CFTH was able to glean over 3,000 pounds of produce predominantly from North Seattle neighborhoods. As we try to increase efficiency and expand the project, your work would be highly valuable to us. With the information that you gather and the maps created, our staff as well as our volunteers will have a resource to guide community outreach and awareness, scouting trips, and expansion to other neighborhoods in Seattle. Working with Lettuce Link staff, we envision a group of students creating several maps visually displaying historical fruit orchards in the King County area, existing fruit orchards (official and park-based), trees that we have already harvested, and potential sites to explore.
UW Geography: Mapping Global Studies into Geography – An
Undergraduate Curriculum Project
The “Mapping Global Studies into Geography” initiative is intended to do several things:
1. Integrate basic GIS learning, literacy, and exercises into more
of the non-GIS courses that most of the Geography faculty teach;
2. Establish the basis for an integrative Geography and Global Studies Track with in the major;
3. Create curricula plans that demonstrate how particular suites of courses build GIS competency and link with global studies learning in the major.
One of the key parts of this initiative will be designing several learning modules that use GIS to explore themes in global studies. The point is less to “teach GIS” in non-GIS courses than to use GIS as a means of incorporating critical spatial reasoning and representation in these courses in new ways, and to do so in a way that strengthens students’ substantive learning about global studies concepts that link across departmental curricula. A major practical challenge in such an initiative is how to design GIS-based activities that can be completed by students and faculty who may not have prior experience in using ArcGIS. The team that works on this project will develop a geodatabase that includes a variety of thematic data for countries of the world, such as health, economic status, and population characteristics, and develop prototype GIS activities using this database, for eventual incorporation in undergraduate human geography courses.