final project progress

Our group spent the majority of this week doing more thorough research of our problem space: urbanization.  We familiarized ourselves with the different aspects of urbanization – infrastructure, basic services, transportation, violence & hazards, and connectivity – and did further research into these fields by finding related articles online.  Throughout the process, we’ve been referring back to a PDF sent to us by Tanya, written by UNICEF, that provides a comprehensive overview of urbanization and its many facets.  After research and review, our group naturally gravitated toward the issue of connectivity, highlighted in the UNICEF handbook as a relevant concern, and used the article’s “statement of need” and “prompts” as a framework for our work going forward.

Our problem: Representation.

We are deciding to focus on accurately representing slum-dwellers in data that is used to plan for the future and having them actively represented in government so that they may participate in the planning of their cities and futures.


  1. Articles that we’ve shared and read together over the week:
    Street violence and exploitation in slums:
    Poor disaster preparedness:
    Indoor & outdoor air pollution:



Urbanization_doing good is good business week 9

What is the Big Problem

Urbanization (which brought a lot of issues to both rural and urban area)

What is the specific problem

For rural area, the problems include left-behind children(they need their parents – to be closer to them, pay more visit, more communication ) / lack of labor force / undeveloped living environment etc.

For urban area, the problems include slums / higher and higher density of population / lack of affordable houses etc.

It would be helpful if we could give assistance to people who consider moving to urban on deciding which city to move.


A generation affected by migration – DGGB final idea

In collaboration with Yuqiao and Jixuan, we brainstormed a lot and finally decided to do something for children of rural area in China.



According to China Government Report, until 2015, migration workers population reached 277 millions.


Overall, the Chinese government has tacitly supported migration as means of providing labour for factories and construction sites and for the long-term goals of transforming China from a rural-based economy to an urban-based one.[5] Some inland cities have started providing migrants with social security, including pensions and other insurance. In 2012, there were a reported 167 million migrant workers in China, with trends of working closer to home (within their own or a neighbouring province but with a wage drop of 21%. Because so many migrant works are moving to the city from rural areas, employers can hire them to work in poor working conditions for extremely low wages.[5] Migrant workers in China are notoriously marginalized, especially due to the hukou system of residency permits, which tie one stated residence to all social welfare benefits.

source :

more resource:


Who is this for?

Children affected by migration

  1. left-behind children

Left-behind children in China refer to the children who live with one parent (usual mother) or extended family (usually grandparents) when their parent(s) is (are) absent from home as migrant workers in urban areas. They are left behind partly because of little access to basic welfare in cities without local hukou status and partly because of high living expenses in cities.According to Ministry of Education, in 2012 there were more than 12.6 million migrant children and 58 million left-behind children from 7 years old to 16 years old. Left-behind children will have more health, emotional and behavior issues than those who grow up with their parents.


A short video by BBC gives a brief introduction to the left-behind:

A more detailed report from BBC:


2.children migrate with parents

Until 2015, held a population of 14 million. They migrated to the urban area with parents who usually worked at factories or construction sites with a limited access to education.


What is the challenge you are trying to investigate?

left-behind children

1.lack of care from parents

Most of migrant workers only go back and visit their children once a year. Some of the left-behind live alone, others are raised by their grandparents. With limited access to internet, children could hard reach their parents when they are not together. support

After they went to the urban area, many of them worked part-time in order to afford a normal academic life and get used to city life. Most of them relied on student loan to pay for tuition fee(which means they need to get a work after graduation in order to repay)

3. access to information

Limited resource at childhood – local teacher and support teacher from developed area

4. social/family/peer pressure after they went to urban area

mental issues

Questions…: Do they want to go back? Why not?  Their families’ attitude towards migrating issue and further education?


children migrate with parents

  1. limited access to education

9-year-compulsory education which supported by Chinese government funds could only be implemented at the local area, which means they need to pay for tuition fee at urban area. There are primary schools specifically for these kids(mostly in rural-urban fringe zone) while still cannot solve the problem due to their flowing issues, ID issues.

2. transfer frequently

3. Ignorance from parents

40% of parents donot care about children education pressure mental issues

mental issues


Final Project Inspiration

Before I narrowed down the topics I wished to start initiate project ideas, I went through the stats on Uganda for example to see the main areas UNICEF works on:

Among these topics, I’m mostly interested in

  • Education and access to information
  • living resources(water, food) and environmental issues

“Education systems around the globe must do more than increase resources to engage the children excluded because of location, gender, disability, ethnic origin, violence or natural disaster. Addressing these challenges requires more than business as usual.”

A great example of  a combination of these two issues I’m interested in is the “drinkable book” (could look up the link which is a bug-killing book that could clean murky drinking water.


For our team’s challenge, we were to figure out an emergency response plan when we encounter a natural disaster.

Our first approach was to build a disaster rescue kit, however after talk with instructors we found out that this might not be the best choice as it relies more on preparation before hand rather than real-time response. Thus, we plan out basic steps for our emergency response which includes

1. Identify Safe Areas:

  • Where is the gathering point?
  • Where can supplies be stored?

2. Designate Team Roles

  • Who will search
  • Who will manage supplies
  • Who will be on the medical team
  • Who is the lead person
  • Person responsible for contacting emergency persons

3.Search Team

  • Identifies and Reports Damaged Areas

      Debris/Downed Power Lines /Flood Waters/Spills    

  • Looks for supplies
  • Looks for survivors (Initial Rescue & Medical Team)

 4.Base Team

  • Manage Supplies
  1. Prepares Food, Medical Equipment
  2. Identifies what is needed
  3. Separate Hazardous and Non-Hazardous materials
  • Establish and Maintain Stations
  1. Medical Station
  2. Washing Station
  3. Eating Station
  4. Recreational Station
  5. Sleeping Station
  • Work on establishing contact with Rescue Team


  • Human Assessment
  1. Check (Mental & Physical) Health of People
  2. Attend to needs at base

To see if our plan was practical, we took walk around our school block(area within two-three blocks), tried to identify safe areas and acted as a search team.


Apart from school buildings, we found that subway stations might be a good option for temporary shelter as they could prevent cold weather and disasters like tornados(not appropriate for disasters like floods though)


We have plenty access to food & water (grocery stores, vending machines in school block, restaurants and cafes)

Fortunately enough, NYU student health center lies right opposite our school block, which could provide us with medical supplies and even doctors as medical team members. There are also two pharmacy stores and one nutritional supplement store nearby.

Clothing stores provide us with supplies to survive extreme cold weather.


With relatively abundant resources, how to gather and deliver supplies with high efficiency might be an issue. So apart from basic resources, we also looked for tools for storage and delivery – Card boxes for storage, bicycles could help with delivery, and trolleys at CVS or salons could be used for delivery also.

We also visited NYU > Center for Catastrophe Preparedness & Response  seeking for help, but surprisingly, we didn’t found anyone in their office.


Learnings from the walk:

  • The walk took us around 20 minutes, as we assume internet could not work we had no specific plan for our route. As all resources are at different locations, it might be helpful if there’s someone in search team could memorise/record the locations of resources for further visits.
  • For resource like medical supplies, we need relatively professional knowledge, which means training before hand/preparation really matters. Even if we got that resource, we don’t know what is the the priority for us to gather and deliver.
  • Instead of looking for basic supplies, have storage and deliver tools prepare should be first step

week 4 readings

From shore to plate: Tracking tuna on the blockchain

The case showed us how blockchain technology can enable supply chain transparency and traceability. It is also inspiring to me in terms of protecting traditional techniques. Indonesia’s pole and line and handling fishery is a great example of a sustainable technique which can create jobs, guarantee product quality, and be environment friendly. It worth us exploring how to implement digital tool to protect traditional techniques and raise awareness.

My question is when introduce blockchain technology into this area, especially in developing country, how to intervent and win trust as the new tech would make the system decentralised , which means the stakeholder which has original central power would lose its authority?

And as the blockchain system works as SSOT which means one source would determine the truth, how to identify/guarantee the original one source would never be wrong along the whole process?

week 3(readings)

Designing Field Trial Protocols in Ethiopia for Pneumonia Diagnostic Devices

“The management of pneumonia within the community has important benefits. It not only reduces the burden on health facilities but ensures early identification, classification, diagnosis and treatment of children where they need it the most: close to home. “
If the device is timely and accurate enough, which means most of preventable children pneumonia could be prevented before they go to health facilities, will it indirectly decrease the diagnose quality of health facilities in the long term? How to evaluate the influence when introducing a new role to an already built eco-system?
How long would it take to put pneumonia diagnostic devices into real practice after the trial test?

What is driving Uber’s global impact?

“The company has expanded its mission from providing rides on demand to reinventing transportation as we know it. While sustainable global development is by no means Uber’s goal, the byproduct of its business has early stage impact and long term potential in areas like safe roads and clean air that have traditionally fallen within the domain of aid agencies.” 

Has “sustainable global development” ever been part of Uber’s goal? If not, as it has been awared of now, would it be a burden for Uber’s future development? For instance, driverless car which may increase cars and make roads less safe. And is there any proof or data shows that it did help to make road safer and cleaner?

But Mexico City also represents an example of the pace at which Uber is expanding from urban to suburban areas, including less wealthy areas historically underserved by transportation, Matthew Devlin, who leads international relations at Uber, said at Devex World.’So you think about what that means in terms of creating access to jobs, to education, to healthcare, allowing people to participate in the social and civic life of their city,’he said.

What would a capital drive incorporate react when more and more “social responsibilities” seem to be added to it?  Should Uber lower down the cost at suburban areas in developing countries as the people there got lower incomes, which may not be a good idea to get revenue?

data matters

When I was browsing the assignment reading on Motherboard, customised  Ads were keeping distracting me constantly and accurately – Adafruit, Everlane,origins… the poped out “shop now” tag seems more attractive as these are things I do interested in purchasing.

It is big data and algorithms that make Ads targeting works so well.

Amazon’s recommendation engines suggest items for you to buy, Spotify recommends music to you, Gmail’s filter out spam mails. 

In The Data That Turned the World Upside Down, strong examples about Brexit and the latest US presidential election showed the power of  data in making human predictable, and in guiding them in some ways. As every move we did on internet, through computer or cellphone, is like filling out our psychological questionnaire.

And in Fake News is not the only problem, another question was raised – how can data help identify the truth when data and algorithm are also helping spreading fake news?Like if a certain piece of news has been read for over 1,000 times then it would be put on first page of your search so that more people would see it (facebook or twitter, mark it as “trending topics”), more attention would be drew to it.

“The loss of trust in institutions, especially mainstream media, is worrying (read this Mathew Ingram piece) because it means there’s no consensus on who is telling the truth, what is based on facts, and what is missing important context.”

How can data help then?

While just like the question Gilad threw out at the end of the article,

“In a world where stories form so rapidly and organically, who gets to decide what is real?”

I saw one of the comment said “Reliable and accurate knowledge in most domains is doable. Like Wikipedia, such database can give most people fast comfort that the vast majority of time they will find a safe harbor. The caveat is that there will, undoubtedly, be competing databases. But, ultimately, even this will sort out akin to a Venn-diagram.”

Another question came across my mind is that is data always telling the truth? Will data lie? What if data-driven insights conflict with common sense/fact? To what extend shall we rely on data?

For instance, I also read Gilad’s points on iTunes APP ranking charts,  there’s an example on uber and tinder stats diagram which shows their ranking on Christmas day at trough.Does it really mean that these days are not good days for dating or riding? If a brand were to buy advertisement on a APP, does the data of downloads really tell the volume of its real audience? What about the fake follower numbers of bloggers on instagram? twitter? are these data qualified enough to influence/make a business decision?