311 for Cities: Developing an Online Blight Management Tool

How To, Guide, or Manual National Resource Network October 2, 2014 Community Development + Housing

In August 2014, a city reached out to the National Resource Network’s 311 for Cities feature with a question about developing an online, publicly-accessible portal to track and visualize property condition information and, ultimately, eliminate blight. The Network connected city officials with an expert from the Center for Community Progress (CCP); the attached is a brief summary of an hour‐long conference call discussing the city’s challenges and several strategies for them to consider when developing a system to meet their needs.

CCP staff was able to direct the inquiring city to several examples where the desired system was effectively implemented around the country, including Detroit, New Orleans, and Baltimore. By exploring each of these models in-depth, the city was able to compare different approaches to determine which elements would best address their own circumstances. CCP was also able to provide an overview of existing “off the shelf” and fully customized tools, and the associated costs of each approach.

311 for Cities launched with the Network in 2014 and – at its peak – was available to more than 600 cities around the country. Local government staff in these communities could submit a question on any challenge they were facing and the Network team would develop a written response highlighting recent research, relevant case studies and best practices. This is one of those responses. The Network no longer offers 311 for Cities, but please contact us at info@nationalresourcenetwork.org if you think we can be of help to your community.

311 for Cities: Developing an Online Blight Management Tool