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April 19, 2011


“Community scan” has some concerned about Big Brother

by Deena Winter

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?

7 Comments Post a comment
  1. Roberta
    Apr 19 2011

    What will happen is people will start fighting and cause bad blood in the neighborhood. Then if it were me, I would definately paint my house to get them off my back, but they will not like the color I paint it. Which would be worse paint peeling or some wierd color with none matching trim. Then I would plant native grasses all over and not take care of it, thus looking like a dump.

    Also, what will the guidelines be? Some peeling does not require the gastopo to write me up. Why is this being put on to people who do not have the experience; is it because we cut the budget so much we do not have the enforcement squad?

    The City need to go back to providing the basic services and quit medeling

  2. peasant
    Apr 19 2011

    The gorilla is lose again, more bullying property owners, What is it this time KING KONG, out to take up more land or just harass and intimidate people till they conform to your liking? Shouldn’t Urban Development already have this type of data, or do they work only on commercial development now, such as,”the arena”?

  3. Jeff Poley
    Apr 19 2011


    If the program is handled properly, it should be of benefit to Lincoln. Experience in other communities has shown that the best way to encourage improved maintenance of private property is peer pressure from neighbors or neighborhood organizations, not municipal enforcement officials.


  4. peasant
    Apr 19 2011

    Maybe the City can give out TIF money to the people who need the help instead of some millionaire developers that only make more money off it. Let the poor gay get some of that money the value of there home will go up and they’ll pay more taxes just like the big projects. More small business will get work to not just a large construction company

  5. Gene
    Apr 20 2011

    So did anyone contact Dr. Nam to get an abstract for the project or is it better if we just complain about bogeymen?

  6. Fletch
    Apr 21 2011

    On a completely unrelated note, this new blog layout is MUCH, MUCH BETTER than the old one.

  7. Chanda Leer
    Apr 23 2011

    Note the article in April 21Journal Star about how you can download an app and take a picture of anything you don’t like or want the city to do something about, and submit it to the city’s ACTION website.
    This falls right in line with the Community Scan. Let’s get citizens policing each other.


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