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“Community scan” has some concerned about Big Brother

The city’s plans to do a “community scan” of Lincoln homes has some worried that Big Brother has a little too much time on his hands.

According to the minutes of a recent neighborhood roundtable meeting, the city plans to begin a “Lincoln Community Scan” to help Lincolnites crack down on problem properties by recording and evaluating housing code violations using smart phones and digital cameras. Data recorded includes the number of homes for sale, homes with peeling paint or structural deficiencies.

People will be trained to “record information during walking surveys” and then UNL will store the information collected in a database and the neighborhood will develop an action plan based on the problem areas, or “hotspots,” identified, according to the meeting minutes. About 1,400 parcels have already been “surveyed” in the Clinton Neighborhood, and next on the list is University Place and then the Woods Park Neighborhood. Ultimately, the goal is to survey all 14 core Lincoln neighborhoods.

Yunwoo Nam, assistant professor of community and regional planning at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, is involved with the project, on which the city is partnering with UNL, NeighborWorks Lincoln and some neighborhood associations.

Some are suspicious of this program — which has been discussed on Drive Time Lincoln. I think Lincoln has more than its share of problem properties, but the city has proven largely inept at doing much about them, so I’m not sure what good the data will do anyone.

What do you think?

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