Community LifeRAFT

Community LifeRAFT provides rich data stories and visualization dashboards using US Census Decennial and economic data sets to understand the demographic structure, identify financial vulnerabilities and explore community financial resilience metrics
Picture of Community LifeRAFT

During the 2021 fall semester, metaLAB (at) Harvard facilitated a student datathon in conjunction with The Opportunity Project (TOP) run by the United States Census Bureau’s Open Innovation Lab (for more on the datathon see TOP (at) Harvard). One of the projects was Community LifeRAFT by Claudia Molina, Alan Tebuev, Jody Elizabeth Trumbull, and Filip Wodnicki with mentorship by Kim Albrecht.

The team focused on delivering a functional tool to better understand the ten factors defined by the U.S. Census that challenge family resilience. Combining datasets from the U.S. Decennial Census, the American Community Survey 2019, and Community Resilience Estimates, they produced rich visualizations and stories utilizing the Harvard ArcGIS tool. The data tool is available at no charge to nonprofit organizations and institutions advocating for underserved communities.

Community LifeRAFT debuted at The Opportunity Project Summit, a virtual event hosted by the Open Innovation Lab in December 2021. There, the student team members participated in live product demonstrations and round-table presentations showcasing the Community LifeRAFT tool. User advocates learned how to access the portal, define data parameters, and scope the individual aspects of their community.