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New Technology Helps Detroit Fight Blight

The Detroit Building Authority has demolished nearly 12,000 run-down homes and buildings since 2014, improving public safety and health while boosting property values in neighborhoods across the city.

 
AT&T / August 16, 2017

The Detroit Building Authority has demolished nearly 12,000 run-down homes and buildings since 2014, improving public safety and health while boosting property values in neighborhoods across the city. Using new technology to improve collaboration across agencies, the Building Authority is speeding up the demolition of blighted properties significantly.

Detroit runs the nation’s largest demolition program, and it’s on pace to clear an estimated 40,000 blighted structures over the next eight years, a feat that would have taken 20-30 years before the improvements, says Brian Farkas, director of special projects for the Authority.

In addition, the Authority launched a new website and mobile app to help residents track demolition activities in their neighborhoods. An online Demolition Tracker map shows where structures have been demolished and which buildings are in the demolition pipeline. A texting app alerts residents when a nearby building is about to be torn down.

“Blight is very personal,” says Farkas. “If there’s a burned-out house on your street, you want to know when it’s coming down. Leveraging technology allows us to communicate this with citizens at scale.”