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The Providence Plan — “We Democratize Data”

ProvPlan map The numbers from the 2010 U. S. Census have been crunched and Rhode Island is just barely hanging in there population-wise. Muchas gracias to the burgeoning Hispanic population for keeping those numbers up — it looks like Rhode Island came damn close to losing a House seat. The Providence Journal did a comprehensive job of analyzing all this new information.

And now, thanks to the Providence Plan, we also have a clear, updated picture of the Providence neighborhoods, including the all-important redistricting data. Tucked away in Davol Square, the Providence Plan was launched in 1992 as a joint effort of the City of Providence and the State of Rhode Island and functions as a data intermediary, “helping policymakers and residents access public information that can be used to drive community improvement.” The hope is that informed people will make smart decisions.

Human population changes are but one category of analysis at the ProvPlan site. Check out the Coyote Mapper generated for the Narragansett Bay Coyote Study. (The recent news that the Middletown authorities want to thin the pack is all the more upsetting when you learn that the coyotes all have names. Run Java, run!)

At any rate, the ProvPlan is a fascinating resource with interactive data portals and neighborhood profiles. Check out your own neighborhood as to crime, foreclosures, median household income (how do you measure up?). But set aside some time, it’s quite absorbing.