See how biggest data set of Detroit blight is being built

Video by Krista Jahnke
February 7, 2014

Data Driven Detroit (D3)   (Detroit)

Data Driven Detroit and Loveland Technologies. D3 had the data-crunching, database building know how; Loveland had the technology chops to build a software and app called Blexting, which is short for "blight texting." The idea was to create a technology that would allow for digital, real-time information to be transmitted through a mobile device. With the technology built, and D3 on board to understand and compile the data, the next step was testing. Last summer, a parcel survey of Brightmoor was completed using the app to create an in-depth database of all the property in the neighborhood.

In a matter of months, the Blight Taskforce was formed. It's a federal-backed team tasked with eliminating blight in the city. With a variety of funders working together, the Motor City Mapping project was born. Using the lessons-learned and expertise from the pilot phase in Brightmoor, the task now is to map the entire city of Detroit.

It will be the first real, accurate picture of Detroit’s blight problem. And after the surveying is complete this month, the next phase will be turning the database over to city residents and leaders, allowing them to use the information to plan for neighborhood revitalization and program. The database will become a living, ever-changing source of information for what is currently happening on any given block. If a resident notices a once well-kept property is now abandoned, she can update the database with that information herself. That's powerful.