How the Unified Government of Wyandotte County/Kansas City, Kansas is Fighting Blight with Data

The Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, KS (the UG) is fighting blight in their community with an innovative, data-driven program designed to cut through silos across fifteen departments.

The S.O.A.R Program - which stands for Stabilization, Occupation, and Revitalization - is a five-year plan to address blight by improving the appearance, safety and communication in their neighborhoods. One critical tool to the success of this program is the Property Maintenance Index Map found in their interactive dashboard.

The Property Maintenance Index identifies areas experiencing the worst blight, which helps the UG make targeted decisions about where and how to deploy blight remediation strategies. The Property Maintenance Index focuses on seven factors to help visualize the problem. Those factors are:

  • Housing Vacancy

  • Land Bank Properties

  • Tax Sale Eligible Properties

  • Unfit Structures

  • Unimproved Lots

  • Properties Scheduled for Demolition

  • Demolished Properties

 

How is Wyandotte County using the Property Maintenance Index?

The Property Maintenance Index is being used to prioritize and track property improvements and to track the effectiveness of strategies over time. The index is broken down in the dashboard to pinpoint where—and why—properties are experiencing a particular blight factor. The interactive dashboard communicates the initiative’s goals and ongoing progress to the City Council and has generated tremendous momentum in the community.

The Unified Government recently submitted their work for Harvard University’s Map of the Month Contest. This program recognizes exceptional and impactful work with the power of mapping and data visualization in the public sector. Map of the Month is an initiative of the Innovations in Government Program at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation.