Smart Charlottesville: Designing the Future; Efforts toward Unity amid Disinformation and Division in the United States

Hutson, Conner, School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Virginia
Ibrahim, Ahmed, EN-Comp Science Dept, University of Virginia
Norton, Peter, EN-Engineering and Society, University of Virginia

Diversity in beliefs, values, and ideas makes society rich and promotes innovation. How can we resist division and bring fragmented groups together for mutual benefit?
In and near Charlottesville, Virginia, the University of Virginia community, area residents, and local government bodies generally do not collaborate closely. The research team developed the Smart Charlottesville application as a platform to bridge divides between the university and the surrounding community. With the Python-based Django Web Framework, the team developed the full-stack web application, incorporating a PostgreSQL database. With access to this web-based program, each of these groups can strive to better themselves and their community.
More broadly, social polarization in the United States obstructs cooperative effort to manage common threats. Use and abuse of online media has exacerbated such divides. Four groups are resisting online disinformation: media organizations, independent investigative journalists, activist groups, and government agencies. Their efforts promote collaboration despite disunity.

BS (Bachelor of Science)
disinformation, misinformation, smart city, political disunity, political division

School of Engineering and Applied Science
Bachelor of Science in Computer Science
Technical Advisor: Ahmed Ibrahim
STS Advisor: Peter Norton
Technical Team Members: Cory Ayers, Luke Deni, Sanjana Hajela, Conner Hutson, Anthony Lancaster, Kajal Sheth, Jared Tufts

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