This summer, CivSource reported on the creation of a new application called Neighborhood Score which was launched by San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee at the US Conference of Mayors. That application relies on the use of newly released housing standards and open housing data, in the San Francisco area to provide residents with information about the overall quality of neighborhoods in the city. Neighborhood Score, was the second application from Appallicious, a civic startup, that already has plans to develop two new applications that rely on open data.
“I’m really glad that open data is becoming part of the vernacular in government technology circles,” Appallicious CEO Yo Yoshida tells CivSource. Yoshida was recently given an award by the Center for Digital Government for his work on open data projects. He was nominated for the award by California Lieutenant Governor, and former San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom.
“Yo has been an outspoken evangelist of the open data movement,” said Lt. Governor Newsom.
Yoshida’s first application relied on parks and recreation data. Appallicious used that data to create San Francisco’s Rec & Park app. That application was very successful, and featured by the U.S. Department of Energy, and named one of the 7 open data apps every city should have.
He explains that when he went on to do Neighborhood Score, “there was some fear around the launch,” as both city officials and Yoshida himself, were concerned with how the data would be received. As it turns out, that fear was unwarranted, a number of major cities are now working with Appallicious to create their own applications based on local data.
“We really think Neighborhood Score and the housing data standard in San Francisco could be a national standard,” he says.
Even though Neighborhood Score just launched in June, Yoshida is already working on other applications that leverage housing data to provide better information to renters and buyers alike. “We have another two or so applications in the pipeline, there is a rich opportunity set here.”
The first of these applications seeks to create a carfax-like readout on a given property, that potential renters or buyers will be able to refer to when they consider moving in. Yoshida says for this app they’ll be looking at ways to help housing advocacy groups, and also provide a retail service for consumers.
The second application will look at creating more transparency around landlords themselves. “You often don’t get much information on landlords unless there has been a court case, but we think offering the public more information will be beneficial to everyone.”
“We will also be encouraging more cities to use our platform for the parks and recreation app. These four pieces will be our core focus over the next year,” he says. The firm is also starting to attract interest from investors. “I think we’re proving to people that you can have a civic startup that makes money for investors, provides a service to the community, and helps government. It’s still a new space, but the interest is definitely there.”