NNIP Welcomes DataWorks NC as its Durham Partner

Announcement by Urban Institute
January 2018

DataWorks NC   (Durham)

The National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership is pleased to announce the acceptance of the nonprofit DataWorks NC in Durham, North Carolina as the newest Partner organization. DataWorks NC is a nonprofit organization whose mission is democratizing data to facilitate an empowered, productive, and equitable community. To that end, they have outlined three primary areas of focus for their work:

  • Engage communities with data. They connect neighborhoods and community organizations with indicators, strengthening efforts to improve their neighborhoods. This includes direct technical support in mapping as well as data preparation and visualization.
  • Convene and contribute to community conversations. They facilitate productive spaces for shared learning from different perspectives. They participate as an independent partner in policy discussions, guided by quantitative and qualitative data.
  • Provide community data tools.  They provide community data resources, including the Neighborhood Compass, that are regularly-updated and serve all partners equally.


To fulfill this mission, DataWorks staff work with a wide range of groups on responsive mapping and data projects including the InterNeighborhood Council, Durham City Council, the Northeast Central Durham Leadership Council, Durham CAN, the Open Space and Trails Commission (DOST), and local journalists and researchers.

As one example, DataWorks is currently engaging with community partners in housing and neighborhood stability efforts, particularly on the topic of evictions. They assembled five years of evictions filings by neighborhood for use in the Neighborhood Compass and in presentations to inform community conversations and new partnerships. Groups like Durham’s Social Services Department, Legal Aid, Duke’s Civil Justice Clinic and the Human Relations Commission have begun putting this information to work.

In 2018, another major collaboration with Durham Public Health, Lincoln Community Health Center and Duke University is taking shape. The Health Indicators Project brings local health data into community conversations of access to care, environmental and social determinants of health, and neighborhood organizing around issues of wellness. DataWorks is mapping chronic conditions, facilitating neighborhood conversations around the data and coordinating focus groups with care managers and community organizing groups to make the work useful for neighbors and their allies.

DataWorks also collaborates with Duke University to further the mission of putting data in the hands of the community. DataWorks and Duke’s Social Science Research Institute are developing the Durham Lab, a program and space that fosters relationships across community, policy, and research to answer key questions with data. They have also worked together on Data+, a 10-week summer research experience for Duke undergraduates interested in exploring new data-driven approaches to interdisciplinary challenges. Students learn how to marshal, analyze, and visualize data, while gaining broad exposure to the modern world of data science. Data+ Projects with the city of Durham and DataWorks included ones on gentrification and tracking neighborhood health. DataWorks NC shared the results of the projects with residents and community coalitions.

Finally, DataWorks is a partner in the three-year, $3 million project IMPACT project, along with Duke’s Renaissance Computing Institute and partners at UNC Chapel Hill, Duke University, and Indiana University, which aims to allow researchers to share and analyze data across institutional boundaries. Funded by the National Science Foundation, the project team is building a technology infrastructure that supports best practices in moving data, managing data, ensuring security and preserving privacy. DataWorks will provide the social science researchers with data sets, such as crime, voting records, building permits, property records, and business licenses, to test the platform on real-world research questions. One research project will explore the potential to rely on local administrative datasets for intercensal small area population estimates.

For more examples of DataWorks’ efforts in democratizing data, visit their NNIP Profile. One of the roles of the NNIP network is to promote the development of local data intermediaries in new cities. Learn more about becoming an NNIP partner.