Update on Project Activities
We are currently in the last steps of our data analysis. It has been very exciting and interesting to see conclusions come out of the survey data. Each team member is continuing to work on the aspects of data analysis that we originally decided on: Katherine, Andea, and Brian are focusing on the quantitative aspects of the data from the survey with respect to different demographics while Jessica is doing geographical analysis using GIS and Steven is doing analysis on the qualitative data from the survey. For the most part, we just need to finish processing the additional survey responses in order to update our existing graphs.
This week, we met with Derek to discuss our data analysis. Each team member showed Derek what analyses we had performed on the data. He gave us feedback on what could be improved and what further steps could be taken to provide a more complete report. Derek’s input will be valuable as we make important decisions regarding which data interpretations will be included in our final report and what suggestions we will make for further steps regarding East Palo Alto’s concern and awareness of climate change issues based on the data interpretation.
As we finish up our data analysis, we are starting to turn our attention to working on the final report and presentation. We are planning to make as much progress as possible on the final report over Thanksgiving break so that we can maximize the time we have to proofread/edit the final report and prepare for our presentation. We are also in the process of deciding how we want to structure our presentation; we will have a better idea of how to structure the presentation once we have our final report laid out.
What We Observed and Learned
In class this week, we discussed smart cities and also attended the Environmental Justice Symposium. The Environmental Justice Symposium was a nice way to tie together the themes of the class and the projects we’ve been working on. It is useful to look at our project through the lens of environmental justice as one of the main goals of our project is to reduce the environmental burdens on the citizens of East Palo Alto as much as possible.
Critical Analysis/Moving Forward
Looking back on our project, there are a few things we could’ve done differently that would have made us more productive and efficient. For one, we felt that we should have communicated more extensively with our community partners in the early stages of the project to get a better sense of the work we were responsible for and the expected timeline. At the outset of our project, we had a sense that the majority of our work would focus on data analysis of the existing survey responses. We did not realize that there was still a fair amount of surveying to be done, and we could have devoted more of our time and effort towards attending survey events in order to get an adequate amount of survey responses more quickly.
Although we did not design the survey, we consistently regretted not including certain questions on the survey which could have added new insights to our data analysis. For example, we were curious as to the education levels of our respondents, but the survey lacked a question which addressed this. One of the most difficult parts of surveying is the fact that we couldn’t go back in time to ask respondents additional questions. As a result, we felt somewhat limited by the data analyses we were able to perform with the existing survey responses. It was also difficult to utilize surveys which were only partially filled out.
Our thinking about sustainability and community-based work began to shift when we realized that our project was about more than just analyzing surveying data. The data and the analyses we perform will help to guide the community’s decision-making process in addressing problems related to climate change, and more specifically the risk of flooding in Palo Alto. We are glad to know that our analysis will have concrete real-world application and hopefully benefit the future of East Palo Alto.