The Center for Equitable Policy in a Changing World is a Seattle-based independent, non-partisan research center dedicated to understanding the effects of digital technology on political ideology, engagement, and decision-making and sharing our knowledge through public engagement, education, and outreach.

Ongoing Research

Project Page


EPCW is undertaking a project to evaluate the effectiveness and implementation of the City of Seattle’s Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda (HALA), including its Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA) policy and the 2016 Seattle Housing Levy, on racial equity and stability in affordable housing.

Research questions:

  • How have HALA’s many policies performed against its goals of increasing housing affordability and stability, mitigating displacement, increasing access to opportunity-rich areas of the city, and establishing racial equity in renting and home ownership?
  • Are MHA and the Housing Levy effective, and what factors have either accelerated or exacerbated their efficacy in specific urban villages that are targeted for mixed use such as South Lake Union, Wallingford, and Rainier Beach?
  • Most importantly, can these strategies be expected to perform similarly with disadvantaged populations in other areas of Seattle and in cities looking to Seattle as a model?

Project Page


EPCW is creating an easy-to-use interactive map of the effect of immigration in the last decade on the Seattle Metropolitan Statistical Area to help people understand the ways that in-migration has contributed to the growth and richness of the region.

Key questions:

  • What would Seattle look like, without any immigration?
  • How much does the Puget Sound region’s economic, social, and cultural map depend on arrivals from elsewhere?
  • How much would economic output change if, for instance, a wall was constructed to keep out everyone not born in the USA?

EPCW is in the early stages of building a toolkit for the public to use to identify the effects of climate change most likely to affect them, personally, and provide potential actions they can take to mitigate those changes.  This is planned to be released as a paper pamphlet, a web app, and a mobile application.

Key features:

  • Personalized results at the level of  ZIP codes
  • Scientifically-based probabilities that a given ZIP will be directly or indirectly affected by one or more or several coming changes to the environment (i.e. sea level rise, desertification, climate refugee migration, food supply disruption, etc.)
  • Suggestions for immediate and long-term actions individuals can take to help mitigate those coming effects (i.e, housing construction, sea wall reinforcement, forest management, diet change, etc).

Future Projects

Proposed project looking at the historical use of anti-immigration discourse in electoral politics. 

When has the fear of the Other been successfully used for electoral mobilization (in both victorious and failed campaigns), and when has it fallen flat or been rejected by the community being appealed to?  Are there any patterns there applicable to our current political environment?

What determines the legitimacy of different news sources?

This is a proposed 2-part project.  The first part, a survey, will ask respondents about trustworthiness of different example news sources online, within the topic of housing in Seattle (we will pick a real, current example such as debates about zoning laws or the immigration of tech workers into the city).  Part 2, a 1-2 year series of ethnographic interviews exploring how informants get information about housing issues in Seattle.  That is to say, ballot initiatives, proposed laws, changes in demographics that affect prices, etc.

Key questions:

  • How and why do people trust certain sources? 
  • Are there understudied sources of digital information flow that merit further study?

How much does people’s perceived bias in news sources affect their news consumption patterns?

This is a proposed 2-part project.  The first part will ask participants to rank a list of local, national, and online news sources from objective to completely biased.  In addition, we propose to sample the same population to study how often participants consume news from the same list of sources, either as a survey or as a voluntary app that we ask them to install on their phone which logs visits to that set of sites (and those visits alone).

Key question:

  • Do perceptions of bias in online news reduce a person’s likeliness to consume news from that source?