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Matt Conway

1210 days ago
Unfiled. Edited by Matt Conway 1210 days ago
Data Driven Evaluation of anti-blight strategies: What's the research and how do we know it works?
 
1213 days ago
Unfiled. Edited by Matt Conway 1213 days ago
Matt C Mayor's keynote
 
This is a problem of magnitude.
 
Several questions about blight
  • We need more information on blight.
  • What is blight?
  • What is the distinction between blighted, code-deficient, and dilapidated?
  • If someone is living in the property, can it be blighted?
  • Private property rights play a large role.
  • Owner-occupied blight is very different from vacant
  • Vacant: owner is no longer in the house due to various reasons, or it was a rental and the landlord can't put anyone in it.
  • Heir property: who owns it?
  • Vacant property quickly becomes vandalized properties in a vicious cycle
  • What happens next door affects property values.
  • Slow markets depress values, which quickly become comparables
  • Then valuations go down.
  • Then property tax goes down
  • Blight breaks neighborhood spirit
  • How, in a blighted neighborhood, do you raise a child to respect property?
  • First find the owner?
  • Maybe the owner is in a nursing home?
  • Demolition: first must abate hazardous substances, then dispose
  • Costs $12,000-$15,000
  • Takes 2-5 years
 
How to address
  • 5-by-5 program: five blocks, five weeks
  • Try to tear down blighted houses while there
  • Exercise latitude in defining a public nuisance, for instance to clean up trash and mow grass on private property
  • Try to motivate neighborhoods, make people think they're not forgotten
  • Partner with Economic and Community Development
  • Make low-income grants or loans to fix up low-income-owner occupied property.
  • Build wheelchair ramps &c.
  • Shalom zones
  • Involve faith community and neighbors 
  • Do asset-based community development (ABCD)
  • Best when partnering with 501(c)(3)
  • One thing to restore structure, another to restore spirit
  • Help community groups to form 501(c)(3)'s
  • Two types of organizations can be funded with HUD money
  • Community Housing Development Organizations (CHDO's)
 
 How to address blight
 * What is blight?
 * How do we fix broken sprits?
  •    * 5 by 5?
  • Habitat for Humanity
  • CHDO's
  • Can't just tear down, need to put something back
  • Once you start fixing blight, process works in reverse, things get better fast
 
 
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
 
LocalData
  • 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
 
 
 
 
1214 days ago
Unfiled. Edited by Matt Conway 1214 days ago
Matt C Lauren Hood, Loveland Technologies Keynote
  • Blight can happen very quickly
 
  • Motor City Mapping: survey entire city, used Quicken Loans employees
  • New app: Blexting (blight texting) to update survey data
  • People who live in a neighborhood have more up-to-date data
  • Example: house marked as vacant actually have people living in them who can't take care of them
  • Survey data is combined with other data (including utilities) at motorcitymapping.org.
  • Challenging to get the remaining (largely nontechnical) residents to adopt this
  • It's hard to say whether a house is "poor condition" or "suggest demo"
  • Interactive mapping tool for public to explore occupancy and physical condition.
  • motorcitymapping.org
  • White indicates a vacant lot
 
Q&A
  • How do we get people to Blext?
  • City gov't has relationships with CDCs and community, but setting up trainings has been difficult.
  • How can we do this when we don't have a billionaire backer?
  • Comment from the audience: survey only blighted houses, rather than all properties, i.e. drive every street but stop only at blighted houses.
  • Why doesn't the fire department report fires?
  • Loveland has the option of coordinating many city agencies, which thus far hasn't been done in Detroit.
  • Engage with code enforcement to harmonize rating systems.
  • Are there any plans to do entire sweeps of the city, or just rely on crowdsourcing for updates?
  • Funding isn't really currently available for updates.
  • How many people have contacted you?
  • Many cities have, but funding is needed as is partnerships with stakeholders (code enforcement, land bank, etc.)
  • Any legal trouble with people complaining about the representation of their property?
  • People have but mostly just issues with out-of-date data.
  • What are the levers to get the city to do something?
  • Neighborhoods where there are a number of people.
  • Relationship with tax assessor?
  • Mostly just they can look at the public portal.
  • How does Loveland engage the business community (e.g. developers)?
  • Many of those entities have always had access to this data.
 

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