The Promises and Realities of Data-Driven Community Development

Blog post by Austin Harrison
February 22, 2022

Innovate Memphis   (Memphis)

Innovate Memphis has spent nearly a decade designing the Memphis Property Hub, a public data platform for community development corporations (CDCs). Austin Harrison asks if this is a replicable way to democratize neighborhood- and property-level data, so as to level the playing field between community organizers and well-resourced state and market actors, and bring community organizing back to the fore of urban CDCs’ activities.

Innovate Memphis, in partnership with the city’s Department of Neighborhood Improvement, used the Bluff City Snapshot, modeled after Detroit’s Motor City Mapping initiative, to serve as the foundation for a larger geospatial property and neighborhood-level database, the Memphis Property Hub. From its inception, the Property Hub’s key audience was CDC leaders and partners instead of government and real-estate developers.