We recently released a final report, prepared by Allen Lang and Frances Astorian, from a Housing Data Project analyzing the change in Charlottesville's housing market from 2000 to 2019.
The aims of the project are to produce tools to better understand how real estate values have changed and the potential impact that it has had on the local community. By talking to stakeholders, quantifying real estate growth (e.g. sale prices over the past 20 years), and identifying trends in the data (e.g. the areas in Charlottesville where the problem of affordable housing may be particularly prevalent), the project’s analysis can help policymakers, stakeholders, and the general public better understand the problem and facilitate a conversation on how to promote change.
One of the report's authors, Allen Lang, reflected on the experience.
I graduated from the University of Virginia in May 2021, majoring in Aerospace Engineering and minoring in Computer Science. Before transferring to UVA, I spent my first year in college at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. My first semester at UVA, I joined a project under Professor Baoxing Xu and Professor Marek-Jerzy Pindera, making educational Mathematica modules for Statics and Strength of Materials students. I also worked at the Center for Applied Biomechanics under Professor Jason Kerrigan and Sang-Hyun Lee. I helped perform experiments, process data, and produce visualizations. Last summer, I participated in the Smart Cville [now Center for Civic Innovation] Housing project with Professor Caitlin Wylie and Professor Yuan Tian’s voice liveness detection research project.
I joined the Smart Cville [now CCI] project because I saw an opportunity to help improve Charlottesville while learning and applying new methods in working with geospatial data and producing map and graph visualizations. I continued the project after the summer because I felt that we made interesting observations and did not have time to publish them. I am not familiar with real estate or zoning ordinances, so I wanted to share our findings publicly so that more experienced people could see and benefit from it. With the extra time, we used a meeting with [Charlottesville Planning Commissioner] Rory Stolzenberg and feedback from our mentors to improve our report. From this project, I learned not only technical skills that I can use in the future, but to work in a team project that was entirely remote. I am grateful to have participated in this project, and am thankful to all who helped Frances and I with the report.