I. Update on Project Activities
This week our team worked with Victoria on the ongoing community outreach program for the Oakland Retrofit program. More specifically, we provided our input on the initial survey to be sent out by the City of Oakland to tenants, landowners, real estate professionals. This survey data would provide the critical demographic background that the city would need to make decisions on financial policy, especially the implementation of financial support and incentives. Generally speaking, we suggested that the survey ask participants to describe what policies and practices would be fair instead of asking what would be best for them individually, and explaining in more detail the city’s rationale for incentivizing certain areas or buildings over other areas or building types. If this survey data is made available to us, and occurs within the timeframe of our project, we hope to use this demographic data to create comprehensive ArcGIS maps that would allow the city of Oakland to visualize areas of potential focus. Also this week, we searched for preliminary data to input into a potential map of Oakland, which is described in further detail below.
II: What We Learned
We have begun to focus our attention on what will be a large part of our final deliverable: the survey. Working on the survey will help us define our scope of the project, because we will become familiar not only with how our project will impact residents, but also who those residents really are. We realized during a group meeting on Wednesday that it may not be realistic to find out specific data for each tenant, but we are confident that homeowner data will be available, and have begun preliminary searches for said data. In the coming week, we will reach out to Victoria and the Building and Housing Manager in hopes to find what we need.
The best way to represent the data we acquire from the survey will be through a layered GIS map, one complete with – ideally – house-by-house socioeconomic information. After our exposure to the ArcGIS tool, we have decided to create a map visualizing the “vulnerability” of certain at-risk areas of Oakland. We will finalize in the coming week how to best create this metric of vulnerability with which we will assess the city.
It is vital to first have the survey data before moving forward with any policy recommendations so that we may prioritize areas of current policy that need overhaul. These areas will most likely include things like finances, wherein the city ought to consider reworking the 70/30 cost split between the owners and tenants in order to better reflect the income levels of a given household; or community outreach in a language that is spoken in that home.
III: Next Steps
Moving forward, our team is looking forward to getting more involved with City of Oakland officials working on the project. Victoria is planning on putting us into contact with these officials, after which we plan on scheduling a Skype conference call to discuss our preliminary project scope and deliverables. Camilo has kindly created a decision tree of our project process which encompasses the scope, as well as a graphic listing deliverables at all project phases. Of particular importance for our team are the ArcGIS maps we plan on creating as well as an outreach pamphlet comprised of these maps, information about soft-story risk, and resources available to them (as tenants or landlords) presented in an easy-to-understand and digest format. We hope that our map will be able layer together soft-story building information, seismic shaking risk, regions of liquefaction, class/ethnic distribution by neighborhood and information collected from the survey being currently prepared (should the information be made available soon enough). If these layers prove to dense, we plan on brainstorming a specific metric encompassing these factor that can measure vulnerability (an inability to recover from soft-story collapse) that can be applied graphically. In order to figure this out we have set up a meeting with David Medeiros, Stanford’s geospatial instructor and reference specialist, for next week to talk through some of our initial ideas and determine what actually is feasible given our experience and time-frame. Further down the pipeline, our group plans on attending some community outreach meetings. Before that we plan on thinking of some questions to ask members of the community who attend; currently our only idea is for feedback on our vulnerability metric but more will surely pop up as we became more engaged with others who are working on the project and have unique perspectives and experiences.