Alexa Weintraub’s Sustainability StoryMap Recognized in Esri-UNSDSN Competition

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Congratulations to GeoDesign major Alexa Weintraub, whose StoryMap has been selected as one of ten finalists in the student category of the 2020 ArcGIS StoryMaps Competition for the Sustainable Development Goals.

The competition is sponsored by Esri and the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network. The goal of the competition is to increase awareness of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and foster action towards their achievement by presenting original stories that address one or more of the 17 SDGs.

Alexa’s StoryMap “Eating on the Streets: A New Pandemic Lifestyle” focuses SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth and the impact of outdoor dining in New York City as an adaptation method due to COVID-19. NYC created a list of guidelines and regulations for restaurant compliance in order to be granted permission for outdoor dining. Alexa posits that altering the layout of one of the world’s busiest cities by adding outdoor dining to restaurants will produce a mix of positive and negative impacts, including consequences that will play out years to come.

Her StoryMap examines the number of restaurants that opted into outdoor dining as well as different ways that restaurants have chosen to layout their outdoor dining spaces. She details the specifications and presents in-depth, current data of current NYC restaurants open for outdoor dining. She provides a brief suitability analysis of the relationship between streets permitted to have outdoor dining, the location of restaurants on those streets and which restaurants chose to opt in.

Alexa created this StoryMap in Professor Leilei Duan’s Fall 2020 course SSCI 402: Geospatial Technology Management for Sustainability Science and Sustainable Development.

The StoryMaps of the finalists will be judged according to their innovative ideas, mapping and GIS skills and storytelling abilities. The guest judges are Jeffrey D. Sachs, President of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network and Director of the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University; Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim, SDG advocate and environmental activist; Alex Tait, the Geographer at National Geographic; and Dawn Wright, Esri Chief Scientist.

The winners will be announced in February 2021.

Learn more about the USC Spatial Sciences Institute’s B.S. in GeoDesign major and its GIS and Sustainability Science minor.



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