With a new investment from Knight Foundation, ISeeChange is using artificial intelligence to provide better data on the impacts of climate change to inform how Miami approaches the issue
Miami, Fla. — ISeeChange, an engagement platform that empowers communities to collect data on flooding, heat, pollution and potential local solutions, is leveraging a $685,000 investment from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to help develop enhanced climate mitigation strategies in Miami and boost accessibility of its services to local governments and partners.
ISeeChange uses an artificial intelligence-enabled model to cross-reference community-reported events in real time. With Knight’s new commitment, the platform will expand across Miami-Dade County, allowing residents to share data on the impacts of flooding and rising temperatures. ISeeChange will also create partnerships across government, academic and nonprofit organizations to work directly with residents on climate solution strategies. The platform will focus on applying data collection in communities that are often underserved.
“Among all of the cities we work with, the citizens of Miami are passionate partners when it comes to protecting their neighborhoods and ISeeChange is a bridge between these citizens and their local municipal agencies,” said Julia Kumari Drapkin, founder and CEO of ISeeChange. “Knight’s investment is critical because it allows us to work more closely together with Miamians to develop innovative strategies to mitigate the effects of climate change locally and ensure all solutions are informed by the people who are most negatively impacted.”
In Miami, the platform—which was first introduced in June 2020—has been integral in providing the city with flood data that was a basis for successful grant applications totaling over $20 million for stormwater mitigation projects in Miami neighborhoods like Edgewater, Little Havana, Wynwood and Allapattah. ISeeChange also provides real-time data to the City of Miami, which has helped devise lower-cost solutions to flooding, improve response times during storms and eliminate data silos across departments.
In cities like New Orleans, Boston and Ocean City, New Jersey, ISeeChange also works alongside local engineering firms, health departments and nonprofits to model and track flooding, indoor urban heat and housing conditions, helping to inform cooling standard policies and design stormwater infrastructure.
Knight’s investment is part of its Smart Cities program, which aims to harness the application of digital technologies, like ISeeChange, to improve how communities respond to, connect with and engage residents. In Miami, Knight has invested over $60 million in nurturing the local tech and startup ecosystem to create lasting change for the future of the city. In May 2022, Knight served as title sponsor for Aspen Ideas: Climate, investing directly toward the smart application of technology to promote innovative solutions to tackle the effects of climate change.
“Digital technology and the vast data currently available in cities enable us to achieve out-of-the-box solutions. When and where cities deploy new public transportation routes, build urban tree canopies to cool buildings or plan to build electric vehicle infrastructure are decisions that rest on the hidden technological infrastructure of our cities,” said Lilian Coral, director of Knight’s national strategy and technology innovation program. “One key element that makes ISeeChange stand out is that it highlights the central role that residents can play in improving their communities, especially in areas most negatively impacted.”
ISeeChange fosters civic engagement through the use of digital technology, and it enables residents to meaningfully take part in such a timely issue like climate change, which undoubtedly impacts their community in a number of ways, from infrastructure to health and the economy.
“Based on ISeeChange’s experience to date, we are confident that this approach will continue to effectively inform impactful solutions and strategies that make a real difference in Miami,” Coral said.
About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
We are social investors who support a more effective democracy by funding free expression and journalism, arts and culture in community, research in areas of media and democracy, and in the success of American cities and towns where the Knight brothers once published newspapers. Learn more at kf.org and follow @knightfdn on social media.