We Count! Public Life Data Design Sprint

Data 4 Democracy, winners of our first public data design sprint.

We Count! Public Life Data Design Sprint is an event series for urbanists, coders, civic technologists, designers, and more. Participants form teams to develop new ways of collecting, understanding, and designing with open data about people in public space. You can learn more about the events by visiting wecount.gehlinstitute.org.

Since October 2017, Gehl Institute has hosted the beta Public Life Data Protocol, a common language for collecting and sharing data about people moving through and spending time in public space. The open Protocol was developed with partners at the Municipality of Copenhagen, the City of San Francisco, and Gehl, the practice, and is designed to help cities, architects, community organizations, and more collect data that is comparable and scalable. 

We Count! explores new strategies for making the Protocol as accessible as possible to anyone who cares about public spaces. At these events, teams composed of civic-minded participants dream up and pitch products that address the collection, input, organization, analysis, and visualization of public life data. Each team presents its idea in a final presentation, and a panel of expert judges select the winners.

Our first design sprint in NYC was broken into three sessions. First, Gehl Institute and our collaborators offered an introduction to public life and the Protocol, followed by a workshop on the public life tools. Second, we hosted a party, where participants formed teams. Third, we kicked off a full-day design sprint, in which multidisciplinary teams dove deeper into the Protocol and designed products and tools that will make the specification easier to use, and more likely to be taken up around the world. The winning proposal was a “public life needs assessment tool” that guides users to both specific data fields in the Protocol and the study tools they need to answer their research question. 


Interested in attending a design sprint?

We are working on two more public life data design sprints, one in the Bay Area and another in Singapore. Please let us know if you’d like to attend and/or sponsor! In the meantime, you can access the design sprint materials–including the program, prompts, datasets, and slide decks from winning teams–at wecount.gehlinstitute.org.

Gehl Institute is also seeking a Data Fellow to collaborate with us on turning ideas from the design sprints into reality. For more information, reach out to jennifer@gehlinstitute.org