Building Community Response to Violence through the Rokwire Smart City Platform
Lead PI:
Sanjay Patel

This project builds upon a highly interdisciplinary and well-connected team of researchers and stakeholders from across the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) and the local Champaign-Urbana community. Through a series of stakeholder meetings and community outreach, our team will explore and define challenges, barriers, and opportunities for deploying and modifying technology to address community violence. Our investigation will focus on social science issues, such as how best to design smartphone apps to reduce violence, as well as technological issues, such as how to assure data privacy so that users do not risk revealing their identities at any stage of the research and community activity process.

This project investigates the creation and scalability of the smart community concept by bringing together a team of engineers, social and behavioral scientists, and a community partner - the municipal government of the City of Champaign - to leverage an open-source digital platform, the Rokwire Smart City Platform, and build an integrative community response to violence. Rokwire is an open-source mobile software platform developed by Smart, Healthy Communities, an interdisciplinary initiative based at UIUC. Designed to be the open-source system for tomorrow's smart communities, it is a mobile ecosystem that puts people and privacy first while combining multiple streams of data and sensor technologies and integrating that information into a single, open-source platform. This project is proposing to design the coverage and functionality of Rokwire with the local community, and in particular, the City of Champaign, which has a violent crime rate of double the national average, to create functionalities in Rokwire that serve the community's desire to reduce violence. Our long-term goal is to use this effort as a testbed for interested communities country-wide. The planning grant will seek to address timely research questions in the social science and technological dimensions. In the social science dimension, this project will build Rokwire to create, together with the City of Champaign, a violence reporting, tracking, and intervention capacity for Rokwire that will a) be designed with community input to evaluate the prevalence of, and reduce, violence in Champaign and b) work with the community to investigate and minimize unintended consequences (e.g., racial profiling, victim-blaming) associated with violence reporting technology. In the technological dimension, this project will address pressing questions relating to communities and researchers extracting useful and informative data while preserving individual privacy.

This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

Sanjay Patel
Research Interests: Computer architecture, microarchitecture, high-performance and reliable computer systems, the implications of future generation applications and implementation technologies on systems design.
Performance Period: 10/01/2021 - 09/30/2022
Institution: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Award Number: 2125389