Neighbors, city staff, non-profits and local businesses all have a vested interest in seeing vacant properties in their community returned to productive use, but a lack of public access to critical information about these properties makes it difficult for these groups to work together to create make informed decisions about the future of these properties.
In 2012, the City of New Orleans had more than 35,000 vacant properties. When asked to create a public record system to track these properties, government officials assumed it would take several years and millions of dollars.
In just six months, Code for America 2012 fellows Amir Reavis-Bey, Eddie Tejeda, Alex Pandel and Serena Wales joined city officials Allen Square and Denice Ross (among many others) and built BlightStatus (now known as Civic Insight).
Civic Insight is an easy-to-use, public website that connects directly to internal government data systems to make information about the status of vacant or underutilized spaces available to the public in real-time.
With Civic Insight, residents and local orgs can search for a property on a map and learn about its ownership, inspection, and permitting history, and subscribe to receive real-time notifications about its progress.