A website inspired by my idea for a vacant property database has won First Prize in Round 2 of the Apps for Democracy-Community Edition competition sponsored by D.C. government. The site’s creator, Shaun Farrell, will receive a $3,000 cash prize and now has a chance (along with other contest apps) at a $10,000 Final Round prize.
My proposal for a social vacant property database website (originally posted here), caught the eye of a Shaun Farrell, a developer in the DC Apps for Democracy competition. His app, VacantDC, allows users to view a map of vacant properties in the city, view easy-to-read information pages for each property complete with photo, and even submit their own reports. Since it’s in “pre-alpha release,” being developed under the extremely tight limits of the competition, it’s a bit rough around the edges but clearly headed in the right direction. In an email Shaun explained the data in the system is from June 1, 2009, but DCRA has agreed to provide him a monthly set of current vacant properties.
I’m really excited about the site and wish Shaun luck in his development sprint for the final prize. Hopefully he will release the code under some kind of license so it can evolve into a resource for any city struggling with abandonment issues.