When Seeing Isn’t Solving: Data Lessons From Detroit’s Never-Ending Tax Foreclosure Crisis

Saturday, 3:00pm – 5 min
Jerry Paffendorf
LOVELAND Technologies

What happens when you map a major problem and…nothing much happens? Can map makers and data nerds become change makers?

Loveland Technologies started mapping tax foreclosed properties in Detroit and Wayne County way back in 2010. The assumption was that by seeing the problem, policy makers would do something about it. But since then, approximately 150,000 properties have been tax foreclosed and auctioned, including 50,000 occupied homes.

Over time Loveland has moved from simply providing information about the problem, to partnering with government to work on the problem, to joining a wider network of passionate advocates when government and local leadership were unwilling to go far enough.

In this lightning talk, Jerry Paffendorf will bring you along on this journey, introducing you to Detroit’s evolving data ecosystem, highlighting some of its key contributors, sharing stories of success and failure, relationships frayed and formed, FOIAs sent, and battles fought. The story is not yet over. Grab a seat, and a helmet.