Savannah's historically black, low-income Westside neighborhoods—whose residents make up 34 percent of the city's total population—face the most immediate and devastating impacts of Sea Level Rise (SLR) and coastal flooding on multiple levels. Because Savannah was originally settled on a large bluff at the mouth of the Savannah River, the wealthy, white, and tourist-filled Landmark Historic District closest to the ocean is, paradoxically, the last place in Chatham County that will experience SLR and coastal flooding. But West Savannah, much further inland, marks almost precisely where the bluff recedes again to below sea-level.
Sea level sensors alone won’t save coastal areas. People will. Fellows Carl V. Lewis, Nichelle Stephens, and Rob Lingle will leverage local technology, service design, and community organizing talents—using iterative, data-driven, human-centered design methods—to make sea-level rise data useful and relevant for underserved and vulnerable populations in low lying areas of Coastal Georgia both in the short-term as severe weather events become more frequent and in the coming decade as sea-level rise continues to pose increasingly hazardous effects on certain communities.
Carl V. Lewis has worked nearly six years in data and interactive journalism, holding a B.A. in Journalism and Media Studies from Mercer University and a M.S. in Data Visualization and Digital Media from Columbia University. His first job landed him at Savannah Morning News, where he worked as the paper's Digital Editor, developing a workflow for interactive data-driven news graphics. He later held similar posts at Vocativ in New York City and St. Louis Post-Dispatch. He moved back to Savannah in Nov. 2016 to start his own data visualization agency.
Nichelle Stephens is an organizer who uses data and storytelling to empower underserved communities.
Rob Lingle is a software developer from Savannah, GA. Throughout his career, he has focused on solutions that improve situational awareness and simplify processes that have become a burden. After more than ten years working as a Department of Defense contractor, he co-founded a company to deliver these solutions in the private sector. With OpenSavannah, Rob seeks to inform and engage citizens while promoting — or helping to build — good and intuitive software throughout government.
The Code for America Community Fellowship
Code for America’s Community Fellowship pairs local talent from our Brigade Network with city governments to improve services for vulnerable people they serve.
It bridges the talent gap in the tech and public service sectors by giving government staff the experience of working with technologists, and technologists the experience of working in government jobs.
The Fellowship ultimately strengthens the relationship between local Network leaders and their governments—to create conditions where change can “stick” and help transform government from the inside out.