Vacant and Abandoned Building Finder

An interactive map that visualizes the vacant and abandoned buildings of the city in relation with demographic data is an open data and open source tool for finding vacant and abandoned buildings in relation with some demographic data. Demographics include poverty rate, unemployment rate, population, and median income.The data comes from reports made to the City of Chicago’s 311 reporting service and is updated regularly.

The site is built with Javascript and Google’s Fusion Tables as well as Maps API. The data is stored in Fusion Tables and is updated every week by a PHP script to import the data directly from the City of Chicago Data Portal.

This tool can be useful for any person interested in vacant and abandoned buildings in Chicago. More specifically, it could be used in the following ways:

  • As an educational tool for the general public to make them aware of the number of vacant and abandoned buildings in Chicago and where they are.
  • By individuals or groups of people who want to choose a place in order to install their house, business etc.
  • By firefighters who want to check if a burning building has people (non-residents) reported in it to determine if they should perform a rescue. If there’s no one in the building, they won’t have to risk their lives.
  • By community development organizations to track neighborhood trends in foreclosed and abandoned housing and compare it to demographic data.
  • By journalists as a research tool for the exploration of the temporal evolution of the vacant and abandoned buildings and their spatial distribution.
  • By the City to more efficiently track vacant and abandoned buildings and manage 311 reports.
  • By neighborhood groups and concerned citizens to locate and report vacant and abandoned buildings around them.

The website can be used by the City of Chicago, its citizens, and anyone interested in vacant or abandoned buildings in relation with demographics in Chicago.