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Using Data to Combat Blight & Improve Neighborhoods

Louisville, KY, USA

Goverment Champion

Mayor's Office


25 Thousand USD
25 Thousand USD

Project Status

Operational since 2015

Challenges Addressed

Economic Development
Citizen Engagement
Open Data
Essential Services
Housing & Affordable Housing
Digital Government


Smart city
Equitable city

Funding / Financing

General Fund/Existing Public Funds

Project Type


At a Glance

The Louisville Metro Government is using a new software system that aggregates data from across dozens of different departments and sources to make more informed and more strategic decisions about vacant and abandoned properties.

Problem Addressed

The City of Louisville, KY long-faced a battle with community disinvestment in the wake of demographic and economic changes in the region, and especially the steady loss of critical manufacturing jobs. While the City is now experiencing an upswing and regeneration, an estimated 6,000 vacant and abandoned properties – lots, structures, homes – negatively impacted numerous communities. As the prevalence of such properties exceeded 20% of the housing stock in select neighborhoods, Mayor Greg Fischer committed to a goal of reducing that percentage to below 10% in every neighborhood and formed a Vacant & Abandoned Property (VAP) team that would examine the issue more closely and methodically deploy resources to remediate property blight. But the data the VAP needed to analyze lived in many different departments and it would be near impossible to manually research and assemble files on all 6,000 properties to determine qualification.

Louisville Metro government used/is using Tolemi’s BuildingBlocks solution to address this/these challenge(s).

Solution(s) Used

Using Tolemi’s BuildingBlocks cloud-based data management and analytical software solution, the VAP team was able to assemble not only critical lien and vacancy status on each property in the City, but 40 – 50 additional data points. The data was constantly refreshed as liens and vacancy status changed on a daily basis. Then, the team was able to apply filters on the population so that it could surface the roughly 2,000 of the 6,000 that would even qualify for the City’s program. The City then utilized BuildingBlocks’ spatial analysis tool to prioritize properties that were within 400 ft of a school or park. Finally, the Louisville VAP team used BuildingBlocks’ user-friendly scoring tool to combine property-specific factors with the location factors of proximity to school and parks to create a “score” for every property in the City. This short-hand method of holistic and comparative analysis enables the city to reference each property’s score as a way to immediately determine its threat and priority level for intervention.


  1. The City has cut property research and processing time from 10 minutes to 10 seconds
  2. Reduction in research time has expanded capacity 60 times for each team member
  3. More time can be spent actually executing on programs

Who Should Consider?

Any other city that wants to be more strategic about how it deals with vacant and abandoned properties

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