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764 days ago
Unfiled. Edited by angai@sunlightfoundation.com 764 days ago
Hey Unblight Unconference Attendees! 
Check out the Unblight Unconference Schedule HERE. Also don't forget to tweet using #UnblightUnconf

768 days ago
Unfiled. Edited by Josephine Bennett 768 days ago
Josephine B The Session Suggestions from the Blight Conference.
 
Here are transcripts from the many suggestion cards people submitted during the two-day Blight Conference. When possible names have been added.
.
 
  • The role of business in addressing blight (?)
  • How can we systematically shrink out cities down to size (Adam Ragusea)
  • Do we have all the tools we need? (Matt H.)
  • How can cities bring techies, government reps, practitioners and advocates together to sort out tools and the inevitable politics that accompany them? (Anna Levy)
  • Converting non-techies to tech tools, impossible. foolish or…..(Cristina Garmendia)
  • Community Land Trust (Heather Seltzer)
  • What policy changes in government laws could make a difference for low-income families to prevent blight? (?)
  • Dealing with legal issues as it relates to blight (Charlotte Woody)
  • Have enforcement and signage been addressed (?)
  • What to do after control is established (?)
  • Is rental property always bad for a neighborhood? How can we help students, single parents, or retirees who can’t qualify for mortgages? (?)
  • Best practices for collecting survey data and using it in modeling and prioritization (Tamara Manik-Perlman)
  • Ways to return blighted areas to the tax base (Bobby Gerhardt)
  • Displacement
  • Demo no more, alternative to knocking down blighted homes
  • What to do with open spaces after demolition (Charles Richardson)
  • Are there any quick wins , however small, that can energize government officials and residents so the job of eliminating blight doesn’t seem so overwhelming?
  •  Need to define code deficient, dilapidated blight
  • Managing commercial development or re-use of existing commercial structures
  • Measuring success/impact of blight initiatives (Cristina Garmendia)
  • How do we know this works? Data-driven evaluation of anti-blight strategies (Matt Conway)
  • Shrinking the city’s neighborhoods (Everett Verneer)
  • How do we know this works? Quantitative evaluation of housing rehabilitation (Matt Conway)
  • Ways to cure the blight and ways to re-develop it afterwards (Bobby Gerhardt)
  • How do commercial considerations contribute to blight and how might commercial interests be engaged to help mitigate blight? (Dave Oedel)
  • Why does it take so long to remove blighted homes? Let’s talk solutions and streamlining. (JR Olive)
  • How to address root causes of blight.
  • Blight as a slur and a legal term (Paula Segal)
  • What is blight? Creating a definition shared by the community. (Andrew Haeg)
  • Public or private or both? Who should take the lead in city revitalization projects, and can public-private investments work? (Meg Mirshak)
  • How do you create mixed income desirable neighborhoods that include former residents too? Raise property values without driving original residents out who can’t afford higher taxes. (Sandy Hudson)
 
 
  • How to use sticks and carrots to affect change?
  • Commercial development: Why isn’t there more use of existing abandoned commercial property rather than the building of new developments? (Sherrie Marshall)
  • Law enforcement to prevent blight from occurring in the first place
  • Property ratings systems
  • Funding mechanisms to purchase blighted property
  • Funding sources
  • Taking property: Getting control of property all have abandoned (John Baker)
  • Public Spaces/Parks and Blight. What’s the relationship between blight and public spaces? How can public spaces affect blight, address blight, and help people experiencing blight? (Andrew Silver)
  • The process behind starting your own “Motor City Mapping” project in your city. What to expect when re-habbing your own vacant property. Stories and process from my rehab. (Shea Fredrick)
  • Blight mitigating activity suggestions (Angela Manson)
  • Creative ways to stop people from littering. (Josephine Bennett)
  • Redevelopment or Undevelopment. How can we shrink the developed footprint of our city to match our population? (Adam Ragusea)
  • Methods of bringing low-tech residents into data-driven conversation’s (like blexting). What other data on city services or gaps can be monitored or derived from blight mapping efforts at little extra cost? Blight mapping education and schools: Role for tech in mitigating educational fallouts from changing neighborhood. (Anna Levy)
  • Ferguson, what is the relationship between law enforcement, housing migration patterns, and can data be used to track likelihood and prevent likelihood of blight (Karen from Sunlight)
  • How to include all residents without being offensive to some.
  • What is the role of students in removing blight from a neighborhood? (Joey Wozniak)
  • Lowering the barriers to engagement. Talking to the whole community.
  • Mechanisms control over land use decisions (Paula Segal)
  • Local blight mapping (Nadia Osman)
  • Getting community buy-in for tech solutions (Lauren from Loveland)
  • Tech Tools Voltron or there’s a lot of overlap in what we’re doing – what are the opportunities for collaboration instead of duplication and competition given scarce resources. (Tamara Manik-Perlman)
  • Appropriate technology for community engagement (Tamara Manik-Perlman)
  • Creative ways to combat blight with smaller funding, less than $10,000. (Alex Leahy)
  • Topic – Opportunities other than demolition/Funding (Charlotte Woody)
  • Small steps to solving blight *Using scientific, social theory and knowledge and research for decision-making and redevelopment projects in Macon. What does research show about the social/health benefits of putting certain types of buildings, and facilities in specific areas to community wellbeing and health? How can we get more facilities like YMCA’s into blighted areas? Environmentally sustainable revitalization – incorporating recycling and energy saving into building plans and un-blight efforts
  • Success stories. What made it work? (Matt Hamper)
 
 
 
 
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771 days ago
Unfiled. Edited by Matt Conway 771 days ago
Data Driven Evaluation of anti-blight strategies: What's the research and how do we know it works?
 
774 days ago
Unfiled. Edited by Ben Chartoff , Aton Bridges 774 days ago
At Unblight Unconference, I pledge..... 
  • We don't have the power to make big policy changes, but can focus on:
  • media partnerships, publish pictures and names of owners of blighted properties
  • Code enforcement, make a searchable database of open cases by area/ type etc.
 
Cristina Garmendia:
  • Making a self service model for her platform (OpportunitySpace)
  • Provide inexpensive model for cities to build their own website
  • Mini pledge:
  • If Paula sends her a This Land is Your Land paper sign, she will post it and photograph it in her own work
 
Lauren Hood:
  • Thinking about bolstering people's spirits
 
Tina Fassett:
  • Say good things about Macon and GA
 
Tim Regan-Porter:
  • Make Unblight an annual conference, reduce duplication of effort
 
Peg Jones:
  • Tell friends who couldn't go to conference about it
  • Learn more about how to use technical tools
 
Paula Segal:
  • Give her 596 Acres sign to a Macon-ite (Jay Black took it)
 
Jay Black:
  • Will take This Land is Your sign to different locations around the country and photograph it, post them to a tumblr etc.
 
Anton Bridges:
  • Attend the next Transparency Camp
 
  • Continue to be a big part of pushing Macon housing collaborative together
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
774 days ago
Unfiled. Edited by Rebecca Williams , Everett Verner , Debbie Blankenship 774 days ago
Policy and Legal Solutions to Combat Blight
 
Rebecca W Community Land Trusts
  • Community Land Trusts 
  •  Existing in Macon?
Everett V
  • East Side Land Trust - Ocmulgee National Park & Preserve
Rebecca W
  • Where would they go? You must own all the land in the trust
  • Village Green?
Habitat for Humanity: more collaborations on neighborhood redevelopment 
  • Looking to College Hill as an example 
Debbie B Need for merger of existing government and quasi-government agencies with similar goals? Can County Commission look at funding one all-encompassing group instead of multiple smaller groups?
 
Rebecca W Partnerships as policy?
Mayor/Mercer/Housing Authority 
2 Neighborhoods getting all the attention on different models
  • Lynmore aka Peach Orchard 
  • Beall's Hill 
Banks are investing in NewTown (see: http://www.newtownmacon.com/about/board/)
Chat later? Policies to prevent displacement? 
Everett V Partnership is asset management. 
 
Rebecca W Advocating at the State Level
State Policy -- making sure $ goes to housing and not just economic development 
Example, Hardest Hit Funds, 
Look to what Michigan did w/ their Hardest Hit Funds. 
 
Planning Policies
Rebecca W
  • Business Improvement Districts 
  • Smart Growth 
 
Policies for Commercial Blight?
  • Apply Residential Code Enforcement rules locally 
 
Accountability for Repeat Blight Offenders
  • Letter writing campaign of shame?
Debbie B
  • Media partnership to frequently publish names/pictures of property owners with blighted property similar to Cuffed.
 
Rebecca W Open [Code Enforcement] Data Policy 
Debbie B
  • Searchable database of open code enforcement cases using public information.
Rebecca W
Debbie B
  • Get raw property ownership data and search for patterns of ownership.
  • Want help email: local@sunlightfoundation.com 
 
774 days ago
Unfiled. Edited by znanfuka@sunlightfoundation.com 774 days ago
Blight Tech Tools 101
 
znanfuka@sunlightfoundation.com If there is a repetitive task that can be done by technology, then let tech make it easy for you.
San Francisco street-use permits:
 
OpenRefine  - http://openrefine.org/ 
for excel spreadsheets
Google refine - cleans up data
It's free and available for Mac and windows
 
You can sign up for a free account
Upload your excel file
Use the map tab - georeference your data
Select have one or more columns with the address (works well when you don't have a street number)
You can select what you want shown on the map too
You can also select themes
Share options you can embed and export the map as well
http://buildinginspector.nypl.org/  - lets you correct property shapes
 
Like the wikipedia of maps
Let's you add areas and edit existing ones
 
Opencorporates.com - http://opencorporates.com/ 
An open database of the corporate world
 
Dedupe.datamade.us - http://dedupe.datamade.us/
Upload spreadsheets and identifies deduplicates
 
Email alerts straight into your inbox
 
774 days ago
angai@sunlightfoundation.com To Demo or Not to Demo? How do you Decide and what do you do with the property/l
To Demo or Not to Demo? How do you Decide and what do you do with the property/land if you do demo afterwards?
 
Heather S Andrew Haeg - Leading the discussion
 
Brainstorm Agenda
  1. Is there data to show demo works vs Rehab?
  1. Economic Results?
  1. Impact on community?
What are the goals that can be accomplished via demo vs other options?
Historic resource survey in decision making?
  • Detroit as example
How do you get the community involved?
Historic preservation?
 
Alternatives to demolition
  • 1)  Rehabilitation
  • 2) Stabilization methods
  • Plywood
  • 3) Deconstruct
  • Macon is starting a pilot (Habitat)
 
  • How to determine vacant vs abandoned? Vacant could be empty for more than 90 days. Abandoned is more than several violations per Macon.
 
Partnering with non-profit to do nice boarding
  • Neighborhood Housing Services - In Chicago
 
Individual cities clearing out more than just a home/ go block by block
  • Lack of population for infrastructure is a determining factor.
  • Do something cool? Park?
  • Depending on city? needs of the community?
 
Andrew H Seeing patterns in vacant/abandoned homes as opportunities to make larger-scale decisions
 
Heather S How do you prioritized who gets demolished? 
 
Andrew H Is public policy in Detroit encourage arson? 
  • Lauren Hood: It's kids without a lot to do & also community members who want to see drugs and crime in the vacants stop
 
How to prioritize homes for demolition?
  • Need a survey  of historic character to determine whether a building ought to be demolished or rehabilitated (building off the story from Detroit of the rehabbing of the Book Cadillac Hotel.
  • But: Need a plan for the vacant lots. Don't want kids walking thru abandoned lots. 
  • In Pittsburgh Karen Abrams mentions a community garden in a lot by a school for a kid to walk through -- "children should be your priority"
  • John Baker: Never gotten the first complaint from a school principal
  • Harlem Children's Zone: Realizes importance of getting all people involved in the decision
  • John Baker from Macon: We have schools across the street from houses that ought to be boarded up or demo-ed -- vacant /decrepit houses near schools ought to be top priority for demo-ing
 
Heather S What is the impact on community?
 
Will population return?
Might be best to focus on green space, connecting vacant lots through greenways. Chicago as an example.
 
 
Andrew H Wanzina from Macon: Always leery when people say they want to do a garden.
  • Actually had calls that wanted her to cite the person setting up the garden bec. they did not want the garden in their neighborhood.
  • A garden in Beall's Hill: Needed raised beds because of contaminants in the soil
  • Liability if someone gets sick
  • Some pushback to putting parks in too: Parks looks warm and friendly during the day, but they're crime havens at night
 
In Chicago: You need to be very careful about urban agriculture in cities, due to chemicals/poisons in the ground.
 
Virgil Watkins:  For the scope of the problem, not realistically going to have 3,000 - 5,000 parks
  • if there was a community that was very gung-ho about gardens, 10 gardens on their street might work
  • At Ingram-Pye, about to do several acres of garden
  • What to do about large tracts is tricky. City doesn't own any of the property -- and even with the Ingram-Pye garden they have to go through property acquisition hoops
 
Karen Abrams, Pitt. -- (question to Wanzina and Virgil) Does your mayor have anyone on the ground in the community? A: (Watkins) The closest thing is the 5x5 neighborhood program
 
Wanzina: The vast majority of neighborhoods, though they may be low-income, have people who want better for their neighborhood
 
Chicago: A little surprises by how little discussion there's been of banks. 
 
John Baker, Macon: Do have trouble with the mortgage cos. Using a resource called Compliance Connections
 
Watkins: Fla. outlawed plywood, starting to use boards that make it look like the house is inhabited.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Members (25)
Matt Conway Tina Fassett Ben Green Ben Chartoff Cristina Garmendia Harold tessendorf Josephine Bennett Aton Bridges Heather Jeanne Seltzer Shea Frederick Andrew Haeg Everett Verner Emily Farlow Mike Stucka nadia Tamara Manik-Perlman Frank Hebbert aragusea@gmail.com John Chalfa b.chartoff@gmail.com
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