GIS-Driven Multi-Municipal Blight Fight

Authors: Carlee Benhart*, Indiana University Of Pennsylvania
Topics: Geographic Information Science and Systems, Urban and Regional Planning, Field Methods
Keywords: Council of Governments, Geographic Information Systems, Blight
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/6/2019
Start / End Time: 5:00 PM / 6:40 PM
Room: Cleveland 2, Marriott, Mezzanine Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


This paper focuses on a multi-municipal effort to standardize code enforcement through the implementation of an online geographic information system (GIS). Public sector planning in Pennsylvania has many challenges due to the fragmentation of local governments. This paper details a project undertaken by the Quaker Valley Council of Governments (QVCOG), a multi-municipal cooperative organization made up of sixteen municipalities, to implement an online geographic information system (GIS) to collect data regarding blight, document spatial patterns, and share information across municipal boundaries. Many of these municipalities have significant issues with blighted buildings and transitioning neighborhoods, however, they had no standard operating procedures regarding code enforcement activities. During the summer of 2018, QVCOG staff (including the author) continued a field data collection effort to document blight in three pilot communities (Bellevue, Emsworth, and Leetsdale), and implemented a subscription-based online GIS to map municipal data including structure condition, permit applications, code violations, and stormwater infrastructure. Results of the QVCOG online GIS implementation indicate the potential of such relatively low-cost efforts to provide needed data to communities to inform become decision-making, improve multi-municipal coordination, and provide eligibility for city and county funding based upon codified data and procedures.

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