The Human Infrastructure of Civic Data: A Taxonomy for Participatory Infrastructuring of Civic Data

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Springer, London
As data becomes available online, it often remains inaccessible to marginalized communities where the resources, skills, and knowledge required to access and use such data are unevenly distributed. To make data more accessible to one such marginalized community in Atlanta’s Westside neighborhood, I participated in infrastructuring their civic data using city commons framework developed by Balestrini et al. This process involved three steps: taking a design based ethnographic approach to investigate a data dashboard, organizing data literacy workshops, and reimagining what a community-owned and operated form of data infrastructure would look like. My three-step process led me to identify the human infrastructure, which includes the individuals, organizations, values, needs, resources, and capital needed to do the work of infrastructuring civic data. I organize these elements of the human infrastructure into a taxonomy I call the Human Infrastructure of Civic Data (HICD). The HICD builds on the city commons framework and offers the CSCW community a taxonomy that can be used to identify the human infrastructure within communities and engage them in infrastructuring their civic data.