Hack for Heat: by Evan Misshula

By: Evan Misshula
Doctoral Student (Criminal Justice)
City University of New York

I hate to be cold in the winter. Yet thousands of kids in NYC are because the buildings they live in don’t or won’t provide heat. Last year DNA Info wrote an article about some of the worst offending buildings in NYC. This is the dark side of gentrification. Landlords want rent stabilized and rent controlled tenants out of their buildings so they simply turn off the heat. Why does one building with 78 units have 129 complaints?

This Saturday, there is a chance for data scientists, mapmakers, computer scientists and grad students of all academic stripes to use their data skills in the service of people who can’t hire lobbyists. BetaNYC and Code for America are having a data hackathon to highlight these issues. Yes, it will be fun. Yes, you might meet someone who can hire you if you don’t get that Assistant Professor position at Stanford. Yes, you might be able to show off your mad new data mining or map making skills in D3js, Python or R. Or maybe you will make a video or write a better blog. Mostly you should come because if you teach at CUNY, your students grew up in those buildings or they live in them. And if you want to know why they never learned the difference between inferential and descriptive statistics this semester, it might be because they were cold.

Wouldn’t it be awesome to show them that knowing all this could make a difference beyond just passing a class? Heck, that’s why I think CUNY is a University worth fighting for. #Fight4Edu