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Data Helps Detroit Stop Blight Before it Happens

 

Although the Detroit Building Authority runs the nation’s largest demolition program to remove blighted buildings, the real goal is to intervene before homes become vacant and fall into disrepair.

AT&T / August 16, 2017

Although the Detroit Building Authority runs the nation’s largest demolition program to remove blighted buildings, the real goal is to intervene before homes become vacant and fall into disrepair. Brian Farkas, director of special projects for the Building Authority, says his organization is beginning to use a variety of data streams to understand when a property is at risk.

Using metrics on water and electricity consumption, fire department data and other information, the Building Authority produces a risk score that signals when a property is in trouble – potentially enabling early intervention to avoid demolition.

“For example, if we can tell a house is having trouble with taxes,” Farkas says, “we can do some intervention ahead of time and keep people in the house, and that house never starts going down the blight pathway.”



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