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Tamara Manik-Perlman

1213 days ago
angai@sunlightfoundation.com Data Driven Evaluation of anti-blight strategies: What's the research and how do
Data Driven Evaluation of anti-blight strategies: What's the research and how do we know it works? 
Tamara M
  • Intros
Matt: Data Science for Social Good
Christina: OpportunitySpace; previously worked on health impact assessment in St. Louis
Adam: journalist
Lauren: Loveland just started collecting data; here to learn
Ben: Data Science for Social Good; who gets to define success? Often the people impacted are not the ones initiating the studies.
Tina: Measuring positive indicators for success is something they always struggle with. E.g. mortgage transactions
Heather: Code for Asheville; has been an activist doing foreclosure prevention for a while. What other indicators besides property value can we use, esp. in relation to affordable housing. Difference between demo & rehab.
Meg: August Chronicle. Not super familiar with data. How do you maintain a human element when doing 
Sandy: August Chronicle; here to learn.
Zubie: Community Outreach at Sunlight; here to learn.
Charlotte: Macon-Bibb does a lot of admin work for the government, would
? : WH Council of Strong Cities Strong Counties; got on the ground in Macon a month ago.
? : CCJ
Mark Stevens: own Macon Mall; working on a community improvement district; first one in Macon.
John M: want to learn
Sherry: editor of the Telegraph, working w CCJ on a Blight Project 
Connor: Mercer student volunteer
  • Discussion
Measures of Success
$ vs. equity
  • Property values
  • Volume of real estate transactions
  • Reduction in negatives
  • Mortgage activity
  • Rehabilitation of demos
  • Resident experience
  • Unique buyers
  • Number of projects (citizen-led vs outsider)
  • Vacancy rates
  • Occupancy rates
  • # locally owned businesses
  • Tenure
  • Civic participation (voting participation as a proxy)
  • 311 calls (can be problematic)
Christina: Property values don't say anything about equity. For commercial real estate: new entrants in the market, new people buying property from government.
What is possible?
Need to be very precise about use of "vacant" since NYC considers a boarded house, a community garden and a luxury unit being left unrented all to be "vacant"
Different kinds of vacancy:
  • Abandoned unit
  • Bought by non-resident
  • Seasonal occupancy
Need to talk about use/function
Have to choose proxy carefully: occupancy rates; USPS undeliverable; etc.
Crime data: can be used as a proxy for resident experience, but is biased by the priorities and procedures of the police department in question
311: generated by most active citizens & engagement (not necessarily where there are the most problems)
Commercial/Retail Blight:
It can take just one big box retailer to move their location to destroy the business of the smaller tenants who aren't able to move; the businesses fail and then the whole corridor becomes blighted
Believe that it's 10x more expensive to fix blight than to prevent.
The Local Initiative Support Corporation and eConsul developed an example of indicators collected in Philadelphia. Take a look at the Excel file for the particular measures they are collecting.
How do you measure the positive outcomes of density? Work on issue like infill rather than sprawl.
Health impact assessment:
  • Crime rates
  • Sidewalks
  • Transit service
  • Trip length (not trip numbers)
  • Chronic disease
What is a good equity measure?
Resident stickiness
e.g. in NYC there's a middle-income community that was built; 468 ownership units: 37 are occupied by people who moved in the community district before the units were built
Final Thoughts
Think about how you're going to evaluate success before you start.
Beware of correlation vs. causation!
Lack of consistently recorded data over team means that sometime you need to take a leap of faith.
Investing in What Works: a good series of books & articles from the San Francisco Fed.
Matt C  Whiteboard

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