Project description

In Poland, the last two years have been a time of heated political debate and, on numerous occasions, citizens marched through the streets of Warsaw – some in defense of the judiciary, human rights, freedom of speech, others to show their support for the government or commemorate the victims of the 2010 plane crash. In October 2017, hundreds of thousands of women across the whole country protested against the ruling party’s plans to tighten already harsh restrictions on abortion. In that sense, the last two years have been the time of unprecedented civic engagement in Poland and demonstrating has become a common form of expression of one’s views and ideals. In December, the Polish Parliament has adopted a law giving special privileges to so-called "cyclical" and government-organized gatherings. That has obviously sparked protests too.

MamPrawoWiedziec.pl analyzed publicly available data to show where, how often and why Poles protested in the streets of Warsaw since 2004. We have quantified and visualized a phenomenon that has become the primary form of political expression in Poland for people on both sides of the political divide. We also showed that the number of demonstration has significantly spiked after the 2015 parliamentary elections and a series of controversial reforms carried out by the ruling Law and Justice Party. Other media outlets such as the best-selling Polish weekly "Polityka" and the nation-wide journal "Rzeczpospolita" showed great interest in the project.

What makes this project innovative?

We managed to find a quantifiable indicator of social engagement and depict how the public mood changed after the 2015 parliamentary elections. Previously, no such analyses of public demonstrations had been made. The project encourages readers to see their city as a political space and not just brick and mortar. It is a new way of seeking the answer to the question 'which institutions are considered by citizens as the most powerful and influential'.

What was the impact of your project? How did you measure it?

The article has been picked up by a variety of media outlets including the best-selling Polish weekly "Polityka", another weekly "Wprost", and the nation-wide journal "Rzeczpospolita". They all included mentions about our project. This usually means a readership in the hundreds of thousands (Polityka sells around 100.000 copies a month).

Source and methodology

We used the data on demonstrations in Warsaw published in the Bulletin of Public Information. We scraped the selected data from muli-paged list, transformed into a structured database and cleaned the data set in MS Excel. Finally, with Google Maps API we transformed the addresses listed in the data set into geographic coordinates and analyzed and visualized them using ArcGIS and QGIS. We used cartograms and a cluster map. We also visualized the number of demonstration in Warsaw with a simple line graph using Infogram.

Technologies Used

MS Excel
WebScraper
Google Maps API
QGIS
ArcGIS
Infogram

Project members

Łukasz Ścisłowski

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