Cleveland is mapping every abandoned house the old-fashioned way (street-by-street surveys): How about Vancouver?

Screenshot 15-Jun-2015 from

Vancouver: Screenshot 15-Jun-2015 from “Empty Homes of Vancouver” website

A reader brought this story to our attention: “Cleveland Is Mapping Every Abandoned House in the City, the Old-Fashioned Way,” by Kriston Capps (@kristoncapps) dated 12-June-2015, on CityLab.

Our reader asks, “Why not Vancouver? Get some summer students now to canvass
neighbourhoods. Start with priority neighbourhoods of concern, like Dunbar, Kerrisdale and Point Grey…” Indeed. How about it, Vancouver City Hall? Summer jobs for students. Very timely and valuable information to answer some of the most pressing questions of our day. Probably very cost-effective. No time to lose! Summer 2015 is nearly here.

Above we provide a screenshot from the Beautiful Empty Homes of Vancouver website (, a volunteer attempt to map empty homes. The introduction starts, “Vancouver has too many empty homes! With many families and other homeless people looking for a place to live this is a shame

Below are a few excerpts. Please see the full article online.


Cleveland Is Mapping Every Abandoned House in the City, the Old-Fashioned Way
Eight pairs of surveyors are covering every street in the city to determine exactly how many homes are vacant.’

Scribbling on a map doesn’t change the territory. But walking around the territory, jotting notes on an iPad, may be the best way to change the map.

That’s the idea in Cleveland, where the Western Reserve Land Conservancy’s Thriving Communities Initiative is undertaking an enormous survey of the city. Eight pairs of surveyors are walking down each and every street in the city, visiting all of the storefronts, houses, and vacant lots there are to see. Parcel by parcel, the teams are documenting how many of Cleveland’s roughly 158,000 properties are vacant, distressed, or abandoned.

No one knows what the number is right now. The Plain Dealer’s Mark Naymik says that he’s heard estimates for the number of abandoned properties in Cleveland that range from 8,000 to 15,000—a wide variance. The Land Conservancy, working in tandem with the Cleveland Department of Building and Housing and the Cleveland City Council, aims to have an exact number in hand by September.

… the database will include photos and descriptions for every parcel in the city.

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