by: Eric Roche, Chief Data Officer
Last time I wrote a Chartland article I geeked out over financial data. The interesting thing about finance data is that it’s often an indicator of where a city is going, what programs are being funded, and what citizen priorities are. Today we will be taking a look at the Dangerous Building Demolition program that was announced in the FY2016-17 budget. This program expansion will provide enough funding to tear down all currently known dangerous buildings in Kansas City. You can check out the city’s budget at Budget.kcmo.gov.
Demolishing dangerous buildings is only one of many programs that the City uses to promote healthy and well-maintained neighborhoods. Minor home repair grants and illegal dumping abatement also provide significant help to neighborhoods. Below are the proposed funding levels for a variety of neighborhoods-focused programs.
The decision to boost investment in dangerous building demolition certainly was supported by results from the City’s quarterly citizen survey, one of our favorite and most useful datasets here in the Office of Performance Management. The survey asks residents how satisfied they are with city services. The survey also asks residents to tell us which services should receive the most emphasis from the City over the next two years. In the Neighborhood Services section, we changed these questions up a bit at the start of this fiscal year, and the results were striking.
As seen in the chart, citizens emphasized the demolition of vacant structures enough to make it the 2nd highest area of emphasis. In fact, residents selected the demolition option more than twice as often as the option for boarding up vacant structures.
Citizen’s customer services interactions with the city also show that dangerous buildings are a problem; this can be seen by looking at the number of calls coming into the 311 Call Center regarding dangerous buildings.
The City has been receiving calls about these structures at least once per day for the past 4 years. 2015 was a bad year, indicating a lot of community concern with dangerous buildings.
Having this sort of timely and quantified feedback from the public is invaluable from our perspective. Knowing that demolishing structures is a priority for residents triggered a number of projects looking at our dangerous buildings data.
The point map shows every dangerous building in Kansas City, as well as the structures that have already been demolished (purple). The point map is great for zooming into a small area, such as your neighborhood. However, trying to glean any citywide themes is challenging.
Another way to look at this data is as a heatmap. Often, heat maps are not super useful – they tend to show where the most people live and are easy to misinterpret. However, in this case the heat map is helpful in seeing the high concentration of dangerous buildings on the City’s east side.
The $10M in dangerous building demolition that is set to occur over the next few years is going to be a targeted investment in the east side. We’ll be tracking the demolitions as they occur and will post progress on KCStat.kcmo.org.
If you want to further explore Dangerous Buildings data I would suggest you check out the data lens at bit.ly/kcdbexplorer. If you want to download a list of dangerous buildings in your neighborhood highlight your neighborhood in the map in the upper right corner of the page. Then click “Export” at the top left of the page and select “Current Filter” and click “Download”.