Meet the D3 Staff: Jacques Jones

Profile picture of Jacques Jones

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Cornerstone Village, Detroit, MI, spending my weekends at Balduck Park, the Eastern Market, Belle Isle Park, or just taking the bus with my grandmother. In 2012, I eventually moved from my childhood home on Detroit’s east side to Farmington Hills, MI. Despite this move, my family and I still have deep ties to the city and consider Detroit home.

What is your degree in? Why did you choose that degree?

I received my degree in Urban and Regional Studies from University of Michigan-Dearborn. After a pivot from architecture, I chose this field of study because of my interest in Urban Planning, Public Policy, and Community Development. I’m currently pursuing my Master’s in Urban Planning at Wayne State University.

Tell us something about yourself that would surprise us.

I love learning about innovative technology in the quest for a more sustainable future. While at University of Michigan, I worked as a Research Assistant and Virtual Reality (VR) Consultant on Alley Activation, a project dedicated to creating sustainable, green space within neglected alley ways. I utilized VR applications in the planning process so community members and researchers could view the 3D models and edit them in real-time based on the needs of the community.

What is your history with Detroit?

My history with Detroit actually goes back to my grandparents. They both migrated to the city at different times, but eventually met and started raising a family off French Rd. My family stayed in the city, raised their own families, and started their own professions in the city.

What did you do before working at D3?

Before working at D3, I had the opportunity to work for University of Michigan and intern for several organizations such as the City of Farmington Hills, Grandmont Rosedale Development Corporation, and, recently, Washtenaw County. My work in these positions included data and policy analysis, data visualization, environmental reviews, fair housing, and transportation planning studies.

What do you like about working at D3 so far? How do you think the work you are doing benefits the city/region?

I love and appreciate D3’s commitment to building data literacy within the city. As a Detroit native and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (D.E.I.) advocate, public participation in the policymaking process is crucial as we move towards creating sustainable, equitable spaces for all. I believe the first step to that journey is making sure everyone understands the trends and patterns in the built environment through usable and reliable data.

What are your favorite types of data?

My favorite types of data would have to be continuous data. With continuous data, humans can analyze the changes over time and make necessary changes based on the needs of human activity.

Who or what inspired you to take the path to Detroit, data, or both?

My family and my city inspired me to take this path. By researching the history of urbanization within Detroit, I soon realized the deep disenfranchisement of Black and Brown voices in the decision-making process. The visualization of data, from my experience, is one of the best ways to make an impact on urban environments and gives voice to the mistreated Black and Brown communities over the years.

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