Here are a couple ways to understand and visualize blight in Detroit

May 29, 2014

According to the new report by the Detroit Blight Removal Task Force's report, 22% of the properties they looked at were blighted.
According to the new report by the Detroit Blight Removal Task Force's report, 22% of the properties they looked at were blighted.
Credit Stephen Harlan / Flickr

new report from the Blight Removal Task Force says that there's a lot of buildings that need to be eliminated in Detroit.

Yesterday, Kai Ryssdal of Marketplace interviewed Erica Gerson.

She's the chair of Detroit's Land Bank Authority. The organization deals with identified blight in the city and makes buildings usable again.

Listen to their conversation here:

The land bank say aside from the huge amount of money then work is going to cost, abandoned houses just aren't getting any better.

Gerson says sometimes a direct approach is the best way to deal with neglectful landlords.

"I have a staff of attorneys who go out and put big posters on (abandoned) houses that say 'Call this number within 72 hours or your property will be seized by the Detroit Land Bank.' That tends to get the landlord's attention."

After you listen to the interview, look at this interactive map.

It was created to make data about Detroit homes accessible and understandable.

A screenshot of the interactive map. It shows the age of buildings in the city. The changing colors are like tree rings of the city.
A screenshot of the interactive map. It shows the age of buildings in the city. The changing colors are like tree rings of the city.
Credit LOVELAND Technologies

As Michigan Radio's Mark Brush reported in February, the map makes confusing data easy to interact with.

Brush used the map to help him find his dad's old house on Lakeview Street.  

Their database shows that the city owns the plot now, and that the last time it sold was in 1968 for $11,850. So like a lot of places in Detroit, bustling neighborhoods full of working-class families are simply gone.

You can also check out a page on The New York Times.

They published a map on May 27 that shows the "blighted" buildings in the city. Their video that takes you down a street in Detroit and highlights which homes were identified as blighted.

– Lucy Perkins, Michigan Radio Newsroom