Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Data Tells the Story in Sheraden

In order to make smart decisions, you must be well-informed about the issue or problem that you are attempting to solve. PCRG, as part of their ongoing efforts in Sheraden, has collected an extensive amount of information that will help to inform property revitalization strategies in the neighborhood.

All told, over 1,500 parcels were surveyed on site and characterized by type, condition, and vacancy status. These first-person observations were paired with other property-related information, like tax delinquency, ownership, foreclosures, and recent sales. This data helps clarify the many different factors that have been contributing to disinvestment in the neighborhood. Here are some quick facts about the focus area:

  • Out of 977 homes, over 180 were found to be vacant, almost 19%
  • There were 526 vacant lots, however many of them are wooded hillside property
  • Of the occupied structures, 394 were homeowners and 396 were renters
  • The average condition of Owner Occupied homes are only slightly better than the average Tenant Occupied home
  • Almost 200 properties were found to be delinquent on their City taxes 2 years or more, with 115 of them being structures
  • 178 different homes have faced foreclosure since 2006
  • Over 43% of all property in the focus area exhibited vacancy, tax delinquency, or recent foreclosure filings, or some combination of the 3

Looking at these numbers, you can start to identify root causes of decline. For instance, compare the number of foreclosures to the number of vacant properties. However, the hard part is deciding exactly WHERE to begin tackling the problems.

GIS technology allows us to take this data and analyze it in map form. One such method is the use of density maps, commonly referred to as "heat maps." The map to the left shows you the density of vacant structures, with areas of high density in red ("hot") and areas of low density in blue ("cold"). With this map you can see that there are about 4 areas with high concentrations of vacant structures ("hot spots"). Being able to visually depict this data can help decision makers decide how to strategically and effectively use scarce resources in order to make the most impact. It also allows those who might not be as experienced with community development, like average residents, to be able to easily analyze the data themselves and provide input.

As PCRG continues to analyze the data it has collected, more of these maps will be created showing a variety of information, allowing residents to understand how different factors are affecting different areas of their neighborhood as a whole.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Sheraden Housing Co-op Secret Exposed

Post-Gazette writer Diana Nelson-Jones does a great job highlighting the Sheraden Park housing cooperative on Allendale Circle. The housing development is a very well-maintained and stable area adjacent to Sheraden Park.

Nelson-Jones writes about housing cooperatives, "Their survival depends on an all-for-one-and-one-for-all attitude. Everyone's satisfaction is tied to his investment in the corporation. When you buy in, you buy a share and get your unit in return. There are no deeds. Each resident pays a carrying fee for services including snow removal, replacements, repairs and the like."