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How New Orleans Is Fighting Blight With Stats and Data Analysis

Oliver Wise, director of the city of New Orleans' Office of Performance and Accountability.

Oliver Wise, director of the city of New Orleans' Office of Performance and Accountability. Code for America / YouTube

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Watch Oliver Wise address Code for America’s 2014 Summit in San Francisco.

When Mitch Landrieu started his tenure as New Orleans mayor in 2010, the Crescent City was “awash in blight,” Oliver Wise, the director of the city's Office of Performance and Accountability, said this week at Code for America’s 2014 Summit in San Francisco.

Recounting his experience in the city government, Wise illustrated the problem. “As a result of Hurricane Katrina and decades of economic and demographic decline, we [had] about 45,000 units in the city … that were vacant, abandoned and in terrible condition. That represent[ed] about 30 percent of our housing stock.”

Landrieu’s government set a goal of reducing the city’s stock of blighted properties by 10,000 units by 2014. New Orleans met its goal in part by being smarter with stats and data analysis, through a program called BlightStat.  

“. . . [A]s far as we know, New Orleans is reducing blight faster than anywhere in the country right now,” Wise told the Code for America crowd.

Watch Oliver Wise’s Code for America presentation on how New Orleans is using data to reduce the amount of blighted properties in the city.