Shaping change for Future Places through dataShare Case Study:
Professor Richard Harper, Co-Director of the Institute for Social Futures at Lancaster University and Jan Hollinshead, Senior Research Associate and data scientist, needed to understand how data could be applied in the context of academic research to shape change.
“We need research data to help energise the change agenda in the North West for space and place,” Richard explained. “We want data both for measurement and to help us reimagine the environment and community and see things differently. It’s a broad remit.”
Through Acorn, the Future Places Centre team could understand the demographics of residents and communities in focus project areas and effectively attract a diverse range of people to those areas.
According to Richard, the team has “used [CACI] data as a resource that brings together sociodemographic information to categorise the communities around Morecambe Bay. Because our project is about making changes over a five-year period, it provides an essential baseline measure.”
It was also used to challenge assumptions about the characteristics and economy of towns and sociodemographic groups around the Bay. This insight helps them prioritise the most pressing issues and opportunities to focus on.
“CACI’s data is workable and tractable – we can visualise it powerfully and link it with digital maps,” Richard explained. “Another advantage is that we can show that the data is objective, because it’s from a professional third party. A lot of our partners may have been using their own data, which doesn’t always give them the full context or range.”
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