The Data Science Behind New Orleans' Blight Reduction Efforts

The BlightSTAT system has helped New Orleans track and improve blighted conditions around the city.

1 minute read

October 21, 2016, 7:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

Katherine Hillenbrand reports on the details of the city of New Orleans' BlightSTAT performance management approach to blight reduction. Between 2010 and 2015, the city eliminated over 15,000 blighted units "through a mix of demolition, sale, and owner repairs," according to Hillenbrand. The city's Office of Performance and Accountability (OPA) oversees BlightSTAT, in partnership with the Department of Code Enforcement.

Hillenbrand's article explains the data-driven tools employed by the OPA team, including a "nudging" program that relies on behavioral science and a decision support card (also known as the Blight Scorecard). OPA's Blight Scorecard is designed to reduce workload and the backlog of properties awaiting a decision by code enforcement. "Working with Enigma, a data science startup, OPA tested machine learning algorithms to see if a model could be trained on that data. Based on the tests, OPA chose a logistic regression model and built an in-house tool, the Blight Scorecard, to work within the existing Code Enforcement workflow," according to Hillenbrand.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016 in Data-Smart City Solutions

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