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Urban Institute


Washington, DC, United States

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Past articles by Urban:

10 Things a Good Chart Communicates

Like a growing number of organizations, the Urban Institute maintains a style guide for data graphics. This guide specifies almost a dozen elements that should appear on charts, like axis labels and… → Read More

Challenges for Women Working in Tech

Last year I, along with a few colleagues from the Urban Institute’s Technology and Data Science team, participated in a Data@Urban digital discussion about women in tech. Though the topic was… → Read More

Building Summary Endpoints for the Education Data Portal

Last year, we announced our collaboration with the Cloudera Foundation to accelerate our progress toward a vision of providing free and open access to high-quality education data for a diverse set of… → Read More

How We Wrote Our (Updated) Data Policy for the Education Data Portal

The Urban Institute Education Data Portal offers open, free access to education data from a number of data sources in one place, with the goal of making it easier for researchers, practitioners, and… → Read More

Applying Racial Equity Awareness in Data Visualization

The following post is a summarized version of the article accepted to the 2020 Visualization for Communication workshop as part of the 2020 IEEE VIS conference to be held in October 2020. The full… → Read More

Pivoting Community Engagement during COVID-19

The Urban Institute is focusing its efforts to support effective responses, resilience, and recovery for those most negatively affected by COVID-19. We can do that through lifting up lessons from… → Read More

Data@Urban Digital Discussions

The COVID-19 pandemic is effecting how we work and communicate with each other. Many of us are accustomed to walking down the hall and chatting with a colleague or friend. We get together for lunch… → Read More

How to Start a Podcast for Your Organization: A Seven-Step Guide­­­

Urban’s communications team is always on the lookout for new messaging platforms to spread news about our work and elevate the debate. In January 2018, we took a big leap to a new platform —… → Read More

Democratizing Big Data Processing for the Education Data Portal

Earlier this year, we announced our plan to create a central source of preprocessed, big, local datasets spanning various sectors and issues. Our long-term goal is to make it easier for people to… → Read More

Data@Urban’s Top 5 Posts of 2019

It’s that time of year again! As we approach silver white winters that melt into spring (and a new decade), the Data@Urban team is taking time to look back at some of our most engaging posts from… → Read More

Three Things We Learned from Cleaning One Million DMV Property Records

The DC, Maryland, and Virginia (DMV) region is facing a housing crisis. According to the Urban Institute’s report on the future of housing in the region, policymakers will need to preserve, produce… → Read More

Back to Basics: Building a Successful Outreach Campaign on Good Data and a Personal Touch

As a communications team, we regularly engage stakeholder audiences around research that provides specific findings or recommendations. But this past year, we were faced with a new challenge: would… → Read More

How to Create State and County Maps Easily in R — Part 2

Geospatial analysis and mapping are some of the fastest growing applications of the R programming language. Talented developers are making regular updates to key R packages, such as sf and ggplot2… → Read More

Announcing the Urban Institute Data Catalog

We believe that data make the biggest impact when they are accessible to everyone. → Read More

4 Observations on Animating Your Data Visualizations

In my book on presentations, I describe what I call “layering” as a technique to break up dense slides and show individual points one at a time. Instead of showing four bullet points on a slide… → Read More

R Is the Best Programming Language for Innovation at Urban

I’ve placed my bet on R as the future of research innovation at the Urban Institute. → Read More

Using Microsimulation to Identify Strategies for Cutting Child Poverty in Half

What would it take to cut child poverty in half in the US in 10 years? → Read More

SiteMonitor: A Tool for Responsible Web Scraping – Data@Urban –

“Web scraping” — using a program to collect data from a website — raises a number of issues for both researchers collecting data and the sites that host the data. The technique gives researchers… → Read More

What is Data Science @ the Urban Institute? – Data@Urban –

As Chief Data Scientist at the Urban Institute, I get asked this question a lot, from both internal and external partners. It typically takes a few forms: These are great questions. I think because… → Read More

Data@Urban’s Top Five Stories of 2018 – Data@Urban –

The holidays are upon us, and that means it’s time for best-of lists, Data@Urban included. We’ve published a blog post every two weeks since March, for a total of 22, including this one. What started… → Read More