Using Local Government Data to Inform Policy for Urban Neighborhoods

Presentation by Kara Serrano
April 4, 2013

(Inactive) Ochs Center for Metropolitan Studies   (Chattanooga)

As cities increasing use data to benchmark performance, there are opportunities to use the data to inform policy. By layering data from various government agencies, there are a myriad of opportunities to inform the policy discussion. Many cities struggle with stabilizing urban neighborhoods in transition. This research shows how data that is available from multiple local government agencies can be used to provide a more comprehensive view of neighborhoods in transition. Chattanooga, Tennessee enacted a 311 system in 2003 as a performance tool to track local government efficiency. Of the over 2 million calls, an important subset are those made regarding neighborhood conditions--complaints about housing, littering and overgrown areas. When geocoded these, complaints provide a snapshot into neighbors that are transitioning. Combined with other local government data sources including geocoded data about the location of places that sell liquor and absentee residential owners (derived from parcel data and tax information), a richer and more contextual picture emerges about urban areas. Public safety is but one area that bedevils urban neighborhoods in transition, but it is one that if identified can have targeted policy measures enacted. Using spatial analysis, these various data sources can be used to predict areas of property crime and inform the development of policy.