Equity in Public Spaces: Data-Driven Insights with Mindy Watts

Do you know data science can help us create equitable parks systems?

On today’s episode of Podparks, we get to discuss this intersection with Mindy Watts, Principal at Interface Studio, a planning and urban design firm based in Philadelphia that works towards more equitable park investments. Mindy shares her journey from art student to urban planner, emphasizing her desire to engage in socially impactful work.

She highlights her career trajectory from local community-driven projects to citywide initiatives, particularly focusing on equitable investments in public park systems.


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Mindy’s work centers data collection and analysis in promoting equity. She gathers and examines data on park conditions, access, historic investments, local demographics, and community input to guide equitable investment strategies, stressing the importance of collaboration between data analysts and community participatory processes to create impactful change.

Mindy discusses the growing intersection of park investments with public health. She highlights how public health data, both physical and mental health indicators, inform recommendations for parks’ equitable development, acknowledging the crucial role of green spaces in urban health.

She discusses the need to address park access inequities in the most vulnerable communities, emphasizing the need for deep community engagement and reevaluating resource allocation to address historical disparities in accessing these benefits. 

This podcast is only one of the many resources available inside the WUP member platform. Discover more resources and connect with park professionals around the world at www.worldurbanparks.org

The conversation takes an artistic turn, as Mindy and Alice reflect on the power of art in communicating complex urban data and fostering community engagement. She suggests that art and data should complement each other to tell compelling stories and drive change effectively.

To learn more about Mindy and Interface Studio’s work, visit their website at interface-studio.com, and follow them on Instagram @interfacestudio.

You can contact Mindy directly at mindy@interface-studio.com

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