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Tuesday, August 12, 2014 - 6:26am

Tackling Urban Blight Through Technology And Data

Updated: 3 months ago.
The condemned house at 1261 Hartley St., left, sits beside the neatly kept house at right. Hartley Street is off Houston Avenue in south Macon. (Photo: Woody Marshall for The Telegraph of Macon)

Community advocates, technology experts, students and journalists are coming together this week to talk about hi-tech ways to tackle urban blight.

Macon is one of several cities across the country that has struggled to deal with abandoned, neglected and rundown properties after waves of people flocked to the suburbs.

Harold Tessendorf, Macon’s Habitat for Humanity executive director, says Habitat has used technology and data to document blight in Macon’s Lynmore Estate’s community. "We have used data to go about doing surveys of the housing stock in the neighborhood and then we’ve used a technology web based system called success measures to track that."

What Habitat found is over 118 blighted properties in that community. Tessendorf says the goal is to get 85 structures removed by the end of this decade.

Mercer University's Center for Collaborative Journalism (CCJ) and the Sunlight Foundation are hosting Unblight: an unconference focused on the issue of urban blight this Thursday and Friday beginning at 9:00am. The event takes place at the Mercer University Science and Engineering Building.

For more information or to sign up for the conference you can log onto www.sunlightfoundation.com/unblight.

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