St. Louis officials are working toward improving city neighborhoods using data -- 10 data points that include everything from home prices to vacant land amounts, to be specific. This data plan slices the city into sections, and it could have a serious effect on the way community money is disbursed.

The city is now using a new “market value analysis” of city real estate, which is essentially a bunch of housing statistics and maps that will provide a plan for neighborhood redevelopment. It will also help draw private investment and public money in that direction.
 
“This is an opportunity to use data to make the city better,” Jeff Rainford, chief of staff to Mayor Francis Slay, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “It’s a powerful tool.”
 
The various snapshots of data display residential real estate conditions citywide, creating a visual map. It depicts St. Louis in 360 sections with colors ranging from dark blue to bright yellow; yellow represents low home prices and high vacancy, and blue shows more pricey areas.
 
“That map gives you a real windshield analysis of what reality is in the city,” Sal Martinez, executive director at Community Renewal and Development Inc., told the Post-Dispatch. “It’s a real drill-down approach to redevelopment. I think it’s a tool we can use.”
 
Martinez is one of many city officials who hope the map can be used to provide a more comprehensive map of the realities of the city and where work is most needed.
 
St. Louis’ next five-year blueprint for community development is due to HUD in November, and officials hope this process will help influence development plans and money distribution.
 
The project is receiving funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.