Code for America city Lexington, Kentucky has launched two new open government applications created with the aid of Code for America fellows. The Code for America fellows who were assigned to Lexington—Erik Schwartz, Lyzi Diamond and Livien Yin—spent several months gathering input from community stakeholders and city staff. Their mission was to develop web-based applications that improve citizen engagement with city hall and make local government more technologically responsive to the needs and expectations of the public.
The applications – Citygram and The Housing Dashboard touch on two key aspects of civic life.
Citygram is an opt-in notification platform where citizens can receive information via text and email for topics they choose, such as code enforcement cases or building permits in their neighborhoods. Users can enter an address to get information about a given neighborhood as well as estimation of the number and frequency of alerts. Code complaints, building permits and foreclosure sales can provide a glimpse into growth areas in the city as well as those that are going through decline.
The Housing Dashboard is a tool for identifying and visualizing broad neighborhood housing trends. The information is presented year-over-year at the neighborhood level and includes housing code complaints, nuisance complaints, building permits, foreclosures and property values. For those interested in exploring the neighborhood-level information in more detail, the underlying data can be downloaded as a spreadsheet.
The city says both applications are meant to be expanded over time.
These tools can be accessed from the City’s new webpage for applications and transparency tools at www.lexingtonky.gov/cityapps. In addition to Citygram and the Housing Dashboard, the CityApps page includes existing tools, including the LexCall 311 app, Map It!, Raids Online and the City’s open data portal. Because of the partnership with Code for America, Lexington has the ability to build more applications, which will be added to the CityApps page as they are developed.