How Kansas City, Kansas is Improving Appearance, Communication, and Safety

How do you make 10,000 property improvements in 5 years, track all of the progress you're making with #data, and effectively share it with your entire #community? Look no further than the @CityofKCK—a city of @WhatWorksCities.

The Unified Government of Wyandotte County / Kansas City, Kansas launched the S.O.A.R. Dashboard on January 25, 2018. The story below highlights their goals, challenges, and the key data indicators they're tracking to improve and communicate progress.

What was the goal of the Unified Government of Wyandotte County / Kansas City, Kansas?
In 2017, the Unified Government (UG) of Wyandotte County / Kansas City, Kansas (KCK) launched the Stabilization, Occupation, and Revitalization (S.O.A.R.) initiative—a 5-year plan to confront some of the most pervasive challenges in the appearance, communication, and safety within KCK neighborhoods. Spearheaded by Melissa Sieben, assistant county administrator, the main goal of the S.O.A.R. initiative is to make 10,000 property improvements in the UG by 2021.

What challenges were they facing?
The UG represents an urban geography that has seen a lot of disinvestment over the past 30 years. Melissa and her team are working to reverse that decline with a more data-driven approach. However, in order to accomplish this, she needed an infrastructure that allowed for regular updates to key county-wide datasets included in the UG’s Property Maintenance Index—an index they built to track and measure the following 7 property datasets by block group: 

Additionally, she and her team were searching for a stronger way to communicate S.O.A.R. progress internally and to efficiently share those updates externally with the rest of the community.

What was the solution?
The UG worked closely with mySidewalk to blend their citizen survey and real estate data with other relevant datasets from the mySidewalk platform for deeper insight on their Property Maintenance Index. mySidewalk also made it possible for Melissa and her team to automate index updates, saving them countless hours. As a result of these improvements, the UG was able to find locations in the region affected or at-risk of blight; discover factors contributing to blight; and visualize those results via shareable charts and interactive maps. The results of this analysis were used to create the S.O.A.R. Dashboard—a clear and transparent portal that aligns county and city leaders so they can improve and innovate alongside residents. 

The Unified Government What Works Cities team is proud to release the S.O.A.R. Dashboard that showcases to the community what is being done to address their concerns about their quality of life in Kansas City, KS and Wyandotte County. It also provides a detailed look at what we are working on in 2018 as we continue to SOAR.
— Melissa Sieben, Assistant County Administrator, Kansas City, KS

What does this solution look like?
This dashboard serves as one, centralized location for all S.O.A.R.-related data making it easier for staff to track quarterly progress on goals; provide context through visualized data; and tell an engaging and positive story about S.O.A.R. programs.

The dashboard highlights the UG’s number one goal, breaks down the Property Maintenance Index, and pinpoints where—and why—properties in the area are unfit, vacant, being added to the demolition list, etc.

SOAR mySidewalk Dashboard.gif

The dashboard also makes it simple for residents to quickly check in on the progress being made. It even includes an itemized list that breaks down and defines what constitutes as a property improvement. 

Property Improvements mySidewalk.gif


See the S.O.A.R. Dashboard here.

mySidewalk is a city intelligence tool that empowers city leaders and the public with the most complete, clear, and real-time understanding of their communities so they can improve and innovate together. 

Interested in building your own dashboard to highlight progress on a local strategic initiative? It's easier than you think. Connect with our team here