Launched a public data portal to allow residents to interact with data, download files, analyze and visualize data such as a COVID-19 dashboard, a way to discover minority- and women-owned businesses and Baltimore’s budget and spending.
CoDe map allows residents to explore citywide housing data like developmental work, strategic planning, rent support and building codes.
Baltimore held 20 CoDeMap trainings, multiple “lunch and learns” and created a user-guide to educate more than 500 staff on the platform, encouraging stakeholder engagement.
Along with City departments, CoDeMap 2.0 is used by City Council members, nonprofits, businesses, and Baltimore residents. For example, City Council can use the tool to answer at least 40% of the 1,200 constituent service requests it receives annually. Members of the public can upload their own data or download DHCD datasets that were once proprietary.
“Having macro and micro data at your fingertips empowers users, both internal and external, with comprehensive information for the important neighborhood improvement and community development work that is improving quality of life,” Baltimore Housing Commissioner Alice Kennedy says.
Supporting A Range of Targeted Solutions
For the City, CoDeMap 2.0 is an essential asset for development planning, community engagement, demolition planning, and receivership. The tool divides information into five main service groupings: Impact Investment Areas, Major Redevelopment, Community Development Zones, Streamlined Code Enforcement Areas, and Development Division Projects.
“The Impact Investment Areas represent a key component of our Framework for Community Development and a new era of neighborhood investment for the city,” Rubens says. These areas were chosen for their strong community partnerships and proximity to high-value community assets such as hospitals and schools. Selected with equity top of mind, at least 80% of each Impact Investment Area’s footprint is in historically “redlined” neighborhoods. Each area has a working group that brings together community leaders with City staff to plan neighborhood investments based on community preferences.
CoDeMap 2.0 also supports Baltimore’s block-level planning efforts, which are a critical component of the City’s place-based approach to neighborhood reinvestment. By layering data in CoDeMap 2.0, DHCD can identify priority projects with community representatives and select those with the most potential to benefit an entire block. Johnston Square Park, located in central Baltimore, is one neighborhood benefiting from block-level planning. Over the next five years, DHCD will focus operational and capital resources in the neighborhood.
“We are targeting certain blocks in Johnston Square for rehab and homeownership support,” Rubens says. Legacy residents will receive home repair grants and help with estate planning so they can more easily age in place.
Throughout the process, the City has invested in stakeholder engagement, modeling one of the foundational practices recognized by What Works Cities Certification. By holding more than 20 CoDeMap trainings and multiple “lunch and learns” for City Council, educating more than 500 staff, creating a user guide, and recording a 45-minute training video, the City is helping to ensure that everyone can use the platform to meet their needs. These outreach efforts appear to be working: In 2020, the tool had 23,000 internal views and 89,000 external views.
With new updates based on user feedback slated to improve the platform in 2022, the City of Baltimore will keep strengthening CodeMap 2.0 to make data-informed reinvestment decisions that meet neighborhoods’ particular housing needs.