As you likely already know, I am a Senior Fellow at the Urban Institute, a nonprofit research institution in Washington, DC. I spend half my time conducting economic research (mostly on SNAP and Disability Insurance) and the other half in the Communications Department helping colleagues with their data visualization and presentation needs.

Urban’s primary blog, Urban Wire, is a place for researchers to talk about their work, policies, and other issues related to the social and public policy research we conduct. But it’s not really a place for the kind of content you’ll see here at PolicyViz. Data visualization remakes, presentation slide critiques, step-by-step Excel how-tos don’t fit there.

That’s why I’m really excited to announce that we’ve launched a new blog, Data@Urban, that will give you a behind-the-scenes look into how Urban researchers use new technologies, create new data visualizations and tools, and use new data sources to do our work. It’s a place where you can learn not only what tools we are using at Urban–such as D3, Amazon Web Services, and more–but also how to use some of those tools.

As part of our commitment to democratizing data, we take you “behind the numbers” to explain how we harness new technology, create innovative data visualizations and tools, and leverage data from new sources as we conduct rigorous research. In this blog, we draw from social science, policy, communications, data science, and technology experts across Urban, tailoring our content to people doing similar or related work in public policy and the social sciences.

I’ll use Data@Urban to talk about a lot of the same kinds of things I write about here at PolicyViz–and will often cross-post, of course–but with a larger bent towards social science research and my and my colleagues’ work at Urban.

I hope you’ll follow along. The first few posts are now up–start with our first post, Behind the Numbers at the Urban Institute–and sign up for the newsletter so you can keep in touch.