Coming Soon to Detroit’s Blight Fight: People’s Property Dashboard
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didn’t have before. “We can run scripts to keep the data updated,” she says. What’s more, the app allows data collection over time instead of all in one rush. “If I never have to figure out how to keep 200 people safe out in six feet of snow again, I can die happy.”
All of the raw data used in the blight task force report is available for download at the Motor City Mapping website. Also available is the questionnaire that surveyors used when they went door-to-door. Paffendorf says that even though it’s just the beginning of the blight removal process, it feels good to know that something he’s put so much effort into is getting traction.
“This has been the most forward-moving, positive, let’s-get-the-job-done project between a bunch of different actors—it kind of chokes me up,” he says. “What the city thinks it knows about itself has been this precious, unsharable thing in the past. People who live in this city know all kinds of stuff the city [government] doesn’t know. Our job is to be the bridge between them.”
But Paffendorf and the rest of the Loveland crew aren’t resting on their laurels. Instead, they’re trying to figure out a way to put every property in America online in a Wikipedia-style parcel map. Last week, Loveland launched mapping efforts for 30 U.S. cities—including Xconomy cities Seattle, San Diego, Denver, New York, and Houston—on its Why Don’t We Own This website. If you’re interested in having your city mapped the way Detroit has been, Paffendorf says to drop Loveland a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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