US: New York-based group, Picture the Homeless, inspired by crisis-mapping outfit Ushahidi, is using crowdsource mapping to identify vacant property and lots in New York City.
Sam Miller, lead organiser for Picture the Homeless, explained, “In New York City, we have been fighting for legislation that would force the city to conduct an annual count of vacant buildings and lots. The Mayor says the city can’t afford it, but we see this as part of a bigger problem where real estate interests block the passage of any progressive legislation that could theoretically impact the housing market. To make the case that a count can be done cost-effectively, we created a (crowdsourced) map to solicit input from the community and create our own count.”
In an era when municipalities are getting pinched badly, this is an excellent opportunity to sell both politicians and people on the utility of uniting volunteer effort and social media. If industry members are involved in keeping a vacancy canvass from being done, well, that same combination enables interested people to do it themselves, according to the article published in ReadWriteWeb.
Either way, information is gathered that can help interested parties to fully understand their environment, to extend and amplify their concerns and dreams.