Planetizen - Urban Planning News, Jobs, and Education

Working Toward Open Data for Building and Construction Permits

The potential of a standard, easily accessible data set tracking building and land use permits could completely change the way the public interacts with changes in their community.
August 5, 2015, 1pm PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
Share Tweet LinkedIn Email Comments

Emily Badger writes about a wave of tech innovations that will democratize access to information about development projects:

"Imagine if you had a location-aware app that could call up the details of a construction site as easily as Redfin can show you the nearest for-sale home….. Imagine if Zillow could tell you that cute add-on to the row home you like was never inspected by the city. Or if economists could use remodeling permits to forecasts gentrification while it was still possible to help long-time residents stay in their homes."

As Badger reports, a partnership between Zillow, Accella, and other partners (including local governments in Tampa, San Diego, and Chattanooga), is working toward realizing those possibilities by developing "a common standard all cities can use to publish data about building and construction permits." The website for the standard, known as BLDS, provides more details about the current partners, and their progress, on the project.

Such a standardized data has multiple potential applications—all with the ability "to change how consumers, researchers and cities themselves understand the built world around us," according to Badger.

Modeling that potential in a specific development market, Seattle recently launched a platform to track real-estate projects. For a company like Zillow to provide a platform, however, it would require more cities to come on board.

Full Story:
Published on Tuesday, August 4, 2015 in The Washington Post - Wonkblog
Share Tweet LinkedIn Email