Calling All Data Junkies: Civic Data Challenge

July 24, 2012 |  by  |  Buzz  | 


Like most people in digital journalism, I’ve been following with interest as the field of data journalism evolves. I particularly liked a Guardian article published in May that claimed “Data is the new punk.”

I know there are a lot of data junkies among urban thinkers, and I’m guessing that some of you Hidden City readers are data-obsessed as well. That’s why I thought you might be interested in the Civic Data Challenge, an upcoming contest sponsored by the Knight Foundation and the National Conference on Citizenship. The goal, according to the organization’s website: “The Civic Data Challenge turns the raw data of “civic health” into beautiful, useful applications and visualizations, enabling communities to be better understood and made to thrive.”

I was particularly interested in the Knight Foundation Soul of the Community data, which is one of the civic datasets proposed for the challenge. The Knight Soul of the Community study identified factors that emotionally attach residents to where they live– and emotional attachment to the community is a subject near and dear to us at Hidden City.

So here’s my question: any data junkies and data visualization folks and artists and planners out there who’d like to get punk rock and hackeriffic to pull together an entry for the Civic Data Challenge before the July 29 deadline? If so, email me at, and I’ll put together a team if there’s enough interest.

I look forward to seeing what cool visualizations come out of the project overall.

About the author

Hidden City Daily contributing editor Meredith Broussard has written for Harper's, The Washington Post, The San Francisco Chronicle,, The Chicago Reader, The Philadelphia City Paper, and Philadelphia magazine. A former features editor at the Philadelphia Inquirer, she teaches creative writing at the University of Pennsylvania. Meredith holds a BA from Harvard University and an MFA from Columbia University. Visit her website at

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