Deciphering Blight: Vacant Buildings Data Collection in the Chicago Six County Region

This report documents the information local governments currently collect about vacant buildings and finds the data being collected vary widely among the municipalities, with significant gaps.

The report also makes several recommendations on data collection practices that would allow municipalities to better understand the scope of the vacant buildings problem in their communities, inform strategies for property redevelopment and reuse, and keep track of responsible parties for the vacant properties:

  • Structure vacant buildings ordinances to promote data accuracy and regular updates.
  • Include a unique identifier for each property within the database.
  • Require collection of contact information for a responsible party for the property, whether it is an owner, agent, or servicer.
  • Require updated information on compliance with municipal maintenance and fee requirements.
  • Require collection of information on key components of the nature of the property and the vacancy.
  • Store data in a machine-readable format.

Press Release