Save the Date: Diversity, Inclusion + Social Good in Urban Analytics (DISA) Symposium

Friday, April 3, 2020 - 8:30am to 5:30pm
Atlanta, GA - Tech Square Research Building

Event Details

This event is generously sponsored by the Georgia Tech College of Design and the Center for Computing and Societies. 


Urban Analytics (UA) and Smart Cities (SC) research and degree programs are becoming more common in the U.S. and globally. UA and SC research has helped developed powerful techniques for spatial data creation, capture and analysis and has drawn talented individuals to this research.

Yet, these programs and research agendas often operate without an explicit ‘plan’ for how technology and data analysis will tackle real world issues. Because these fields are founded with technocratic and engineering problem-solving ideals (values inherent to analytics and ‘smart’ endeavors), research questions and execution in this field may be need re-definition and intervention if they are to help cities reach the most vulnerable citizens and improve daily life. Research and thought leadership in UA and SC should include the voices and input of the typical urbanite and those most in need. This field also should deeply consider how different perspectives on race, ethnicity, gender, sexual-orientation, disability and poverty status (and more) may add crucial variables to the study of urban analytics.  

Research Contribution

We will be generating solutions for how our research and teaching can include a more diverse body of tacit knowledge from the urban community and how can we solve real-life problems with data analytics. We will be developing strategies and recommending formal research frameworks (mixed-method, multi-scale, validating-by-interview, etc.) to guide UA and SC research towards championing citizen voices and helping people. Our goal is to empower UA students and researchers to shape urban research questions, methodologies and implementation in way that positively impacts the city and its people.

We will have meaningful conversations and develop a guiding agenda that can serve as an ‘intervention’ that is needed as UA and SC fields mature. Without this discussion, these fields may not adopt the kinds of sensitivities towards diversity, inclusion and the human experience, that it needs to best serve the people. The agenda will help put forth:

  • A plan to put crucial information into the hands of the city’s most vulnerable populations.
  • Methods for using technology to collect data on spatial behaviors in a safe, privacy-securing way, and using the information to optimize locations of services and facilities.
  • Designs for tech education for disadvantaged and underrepresented populations at multiple levels.
  • Methods to identify which small changes can have the biggest impact.
  • How to listen to and learn from citizens who need help and have first-hand perspectives (i.e. tacit knowledge) on the urban ecosystem.
  • Open ended discussion on how to connect urban analytics to common-sense urban problems.


Our panel sessions will contain five speakers each, and will include a mixture of visuals and oral presentations.

Breakout sessions will divide our participants into 3 groups. The topics will be formed by our set of distinguished breakout leaders and can be adjusted to reflect the pressing needs of the day.

Panelists, breakout leaders and the keynote & closing speakers will be announced at a later date.

Symposium Schedule 

  • 8:30am-9:00am - Coffee and Registration

  • 9:00am-9:45am -  Keynote 

  • 9:50am-10:50am - Panel 1 :: Success Stories

  • 11:00am-12:00pm - Breakout 1

  • 12:00pm-1:00pm - Lunch :: On your own, follow suggestions for groups based on themes

  • 1:00pm-2:00pm - Panel 2 ::  Urban Voices

  • 2:00pm-3:00pm - Panel 3 :: Rewarding Engaged Scholarship

  • 3:00pm-3:15pm - Coffee Break

  • 3:15pm-4:15pm - Breakout 2

  • 4:20pm-5:05pm - Closing Speaker

  • 5:15pm - Networking Reception

For More Information Contact

Clio Andris

Asssistant Professor of City & Regional Planning and Interactive Computing