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Andrew Haeg

1213 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.
1213 days ago
Unfiled. Edited by Matt Conway , Andrew Haeg 1213 days ago
Matt C Lightning talk notes
Habitat Macon
  • Active in Lynmore Estates, have revitalized ~40 houses
  • Reduce number of blighted properties in neighborhood by 45
  • Success Measures instrument contains blight survey
  • Three phases
  • Preassessment - what information do we already have?
  • Windshield survey
  • Assessment
  • Evaluate data and conduct another survey
  • Postassessment
  • Blight out of site
  • Volunteer will demolish structures that are lead- and abestos-free
Matt C
  • Send simple surveys/questions to sources on the ground
  • Pilots in Afghanistan, Kenya, Detroit, Alabama, &c.
  • Need to reach non-smart phones, so work with SMS/voice
  • Once someone fills out a survey, they are a resource over time
Andrew H
  • Easy to filter survey responses, build lists and follow up with people
  • Request test account at groundsourcing.com. 
Matt C Baltimore Vacants
  • Now part of Baltimore Neighborhood Indicators Project
  • City releases open data on vacancy, site maps it
  • Target zones: Baltimore tries to put every vacant property into hands of people who will rehab and then sell or live in them
  • Baltimore: 220,000 houses, officially 17,000 vacants (probably a lot more)
  • Bought a vacant
  • Neigborhood 50% vacant
City voice
  • Code for America project in South Bend
  • Tool to incorporate community engagement
  • Make engagement accessible to anyone, even those without internet or who don't know how to do text messaging
  • Voice-based feedback
  • 250 homes in a gray area, where community feedback would make a difference in whether they were demolished
  • Structured and unstructured comments
  • Listen to comments of others
596 Acres
  • "It's about the right to change ourselves by changing our city"
  • There are a lot of publicly-owned vacant lots
  • Urban reviewer: urban renewal plan mapping
  • City took land and often left vacant lots
  • Help people collect geodata in the field with mobile tools
  • 14 tools that you can use today with basic knowledge of Excel
  1. Sitegeist - demographics, contaminated sites, etc.
  1. Census.ire.org - drill into census data
  1. Pinboard - save information that's on a web page ($25/year)
  1. kimonolabs.com - easy scraping tool
  1. Mechanical Turk - hire real people to do things cheaply
  1. DocumentCloud - scrape PDFs
  1. OpenRefine (formerly Google Refine) - clean data
  1. geojson.io - fast map
  1. CartoDB - almost fast pretty maps
  1. OpenStreetMap - Wikipedia of maps
  1. OpenCorporates - corporate data fast and free
  1. LocalWiki - wiki for places

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