May 01 2013

Tracking Blighted Properties in New Orleans with BlightStatus

Blightstatus.nola.gov

With an estimated 35,000 abandoned properties, blight is a prevalent problem in New Orleans, exacerbated by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. A new website, launched by the City of New Orleans and the nonprofit group Code For America, aims to provide citizens with information regarding blighted properties in their area.

Blighted properties are a visual eyesore and have a depressing effect on neighborhoods. The presence of just one blighted property on an average residential block can reduce the value of neighboring homes by up to $7,000 each. For concerned residents, finding information on the status of the property and the owner can be an overwhelming task requiring inquiries with many city agencies.

Blighted Property in the Seventh Ward

BlightStatus.nola.gov provides user-friendly access to information about abandoned properties. Through an easy to use web design and multiple search functions, New Orleanians can learn more about the blight process and review urban decay at the citywide, street or block level. Interactive maps display the address and most recent activity for pinpointed properties.

Citizens can also explore blighted properties in depth, viewing the case history of a property, going through the code enforcement process all the way from the filing of a case to inspection, judgment and sheriff sale. For those who wish to track blight, perhaps in their specific neighborhood, properties can be added to a watchlist with email alerts for any updates to the property’s status in the code enforcement process.

All of these online tools help citizens, community groups, and city staff to understand the issue of blight in New Orleans with more clarity. This access to information may make it easier for neighborhood groups to effectively organize and help city officials allocate resources and make decisions. BlightStatus utilizes open source software, meaning it can be edited by anyone and used by other cities seeking to better represent information about blight to implement remedies that improve their communities.

What other uses do you see for the information provided by BlightStatus?

Credits: Photos by Jessica Yoon. Data linked to sources.

Jessica Yoon

Jessica Yoon is a native Oregonian, currently residing in New Orleans, Louisiana. She holds a B.S. in Urban and Regional Studies from Cornell University, where she became interested in how great places can promote both equity and prosperity. She is primarily interested in how smart planning and design initiatives, combined with inspired real estate development projects, can create wonderful urban places for people to live, work, and thrive. Jessica reports on new initiatives and urban developments in New Orleans, where a fast pace of progress raises hope for a vibrant future for the city and region. Beyond her work as a marketing professional and blogger, Jessica enjoys riding her bicycle, eating her way through the city’s food scene, and listening to economics podcasts.

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, May 1st, 2013 at 9:31 am and is filed under Government/Politics, Technology. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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