Map: Detroit Free Press’ Census of Blight 1989

Data collection that catalogues the condition of every property in the city has been an on-going saga that began with the Detroit Housing Commission in the 1940s to inform “urban renewal” projects and most recently included the 2009 Detroit Residential Parcel Survey and the 2013 Motor City Mapping efforts. As far as I know there were no efforts between 1989 and 2009 to catalogue “blight” although blight reduction and demolition were a focus of every Mayor since 1940.

The Detroit Free Press’ “Census of Blight” was a seminal effort led by journalists after previous efforts were housed in quasi-governmental authorities such as the United Community Services, and then a handful of non-profit and private entities.

Citywide “blight” surveys:

  • 1940 – Blighted Areas, Detroit Housing Commission
  • 1960 – Deteriorating and Dilapidated Properties, United Community Services of Metropolitan Detroit
  • 1989 – Census of Blight, Detroit Free Press, 1989
  • 2009 – Detroit Residential Property Survey (DRPS), Michigan Community Resources (MCR) and Data Driven Detroit
  • 2013 – Motor City Mapping, Detroit Blight Removal Task Force, Loveland Technologies, and Data Driven Detroit

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