Prototyping RADAR, a community data help desk for New York City [Brigade Congress 2022]

Prototyping RADAR, a community data help desk for New York City

Presented by: Zhi Keng He
Date/Time: Friday, October 14, 2022 at 3:00pm-4:15pm CT

:arrow_right: Register for the Zoom Session


  • Both In-person and Virtually: Inside TechArtista in the Main Hall area

Breakout Session Resources:

:notebook: Shared Notes on Google Docs
:high_brightness: Slide Deck (after event)
:movie_camera: Recording (after event)


Since the launch of the Research and Data Assistant Request (RADARs) service in 2018, BetaNYC has consulted on 180+ requests for data assistance and research from NYC community members, community-based organizations, elected officials, academic institutions, media organizations, and community members…

In this session, BetaNYC’s lab manager, Zhi Keng He, will share how RADAR was born out of interactions with city staff, how it has evolved and what our vision of it is for the future.

Attendees will walk away with an understanding of how a team can support their own local municipal operations in small and big ways.

  • Exposing residents and local organizations to open data and processes for collecting their own datasets
  • Listening and understanding to refine research questions and extract meaningful insights that can push forward action in the form of visualizations, reports, interactive tools, and aid in action.
  • Synthesizing outcomes to understand what the community needs to better use open data, build better tools to increase accessibility, enhance community capacity to use and question data through training, and push forward policy to improve the amount of quality of open data and civic issues.
  • Highlighted case studies featuring data tools, outcomes, improvements and pit-falls we have experience over the years

Following a 25 minute talk, the floor will be open to Q&A and participant discussion. I don’t expect this to be a guide on how to reproduce a community data help desk service in other cities, but rather, more of a discussion on how anyone can extend help to community advocates, engage residents in technology and government, and create better tools with open data.

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To attend virtually, you can also go to the TechArtista Main Hall area in the 2022 Brigade Congress Gathertown: Gather.