Open Data is an emerging trend among municipalities and Texas cities have embraced it's tenets including City of Dallas with it's Dallas Open Data portal. There are Dallas datasets that haven't joined the portal yet and are making their way through the process. As affordable housing, poverty and blight continue to drive important discussions, one of the data sets that is prime for openness is Land Bank property data.

What is a Land Bank?
Land banking is a way to collect properties that are vacant, abandoned or owe five years in back taxes and the amount owed is greater than the value of the property. The goal is to get these properties back to a "taxable" state in the shortest time possible. A prospective purchaser would owe back fees and taxes on the property beyond the value of the property, making the sale of the property difficult. Many of these properties are unkept and in disrepair requiring the city to spend tax dollars to maintain them, which add additional liens to the property. Land bank organizations, through cities, will take ownership through County courts and hold or "bank" them. The City of Chicago has implemented a $1 Large Lots program which sells lots for $1 and requires new property owners to live on the same block as the lots.

In Dallas, Land Banks are owned and administered through the Dallas Housing Acquisition and Development Corporation (DHADC). To improve the understanding of this data we used Tabula to extract tables from the pdf, Microsoft Excel 2016 for cleanup and BatchGeo for mapping.

View Dallas Land Bank Properties - Jan 2016 in a full screen map

We hope this data can better visualize available land bank properties for future prospective owners and enhance the communities, particularly in Southern and South Dallas, to bring these properties and their neighborhoods back to a state of productivity and community ownership.

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