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The Future Fix Podcast: Covid and Critical Data

The Future Fix is a collaboration between Evergreen and Spacing Radio for the Community Solutions Network.

We hear a lot about Open Data these days. Researchers demand it, governments continue to promise more of it, and everyday people use it to innovate and advocate for their communities. But what are we really talking about when we say “Open Data,” and can it be harnessed to address urgent community needs like housing, public health, and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic?

Tracey Lauriault, associate professor at Carleton University, specializes in critical media and big data. She’s been studying the theoretical framework around data and says Open Data without critical data thinking does not go deep enough.

“Who’s not being accounted for? Who’s invisible in the conversation, and who’s overly visible in the conversation, and then how do we start bridging that gap to be more equitable when it comes to data?”

In Winnipeg, a number of community-based organizations partnered to produce “Peg,” a simple, searchable resource that allows people to cross reference different community health indicators like basic needs, the natural environment, and education. Jodene Baker is the director of impact innovation and evaluation at United Way Winnipeg:

“You really need to have goals for yourself. You need to understand the wellbeing and the health of the community. That’s what Peg was born out of: the idea that caring was great, but you need to also have action and be able to track progress toward your goals.”

Listen to the podcast for more about Open Data and equity.

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