There are 15,928 vacant buildings in Baltimore city [MAP] - Technical.ly Baltimore

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Aug. 9, 2012 11:00 am

There are 15,928 vacant buildings in Baltimore city [MAP]

Updated 5:28 p.m. 8/10/12: According to U.S. Census Data from 2010, in Baltimore city there are 296,285 housing units, some of which could be in the same property. That figure would not include nonresidential buildings. In the late 1990s, it was estimated that some 40,000 buildings in the city were vacant. By April 2010, that number had […]

A map plotting vacant buildings in Baltimore, assembled last August from the vacants dataset on OpenBaltimore.

Updated 5:28 p.m. 8/10/12: According to U.S. Census Data from 2010, in Baltimore city there are 296,285 housing units, some of which could be in the same property. That figure would not include nonresidential buildings. In the late 1990s, it was estimated that some 40,000 buildings in the city were vacant. By April 2010, that number had declined to 16,594 according to Baltimore Housing. Baltimore City defines a building as vacant if it is “an unoccupied structure that is unsafe or unfit for human habitation or other authorized use,” which is found in Section 115.4 of the Building and Fire Codes. Interesting to note is that while, apparently, the number of vacant buildings in the city has declined, the population of Baltimore city has also declined since 2000.

Updated 12:44 p.m. 8/9/12: Plack has placed all the vacant buildings data in a Google Fusion table for use with Google Street View

There are 15,928 vacant buildings in Baltimore city, according to Open Baltimore data. Elliott Plack, a geographic information systems specialist with Baltimore County government, placed each one of those vacant buildings as points on an online map of Charm City, which he released Wednesday.

“It was pretty shocking once I rendered it,” Plack told me on Twitter.

Many of the data points are dispersed throughout the east and west sections of the city, with sizable concentrations of vacant buildings running along North Avenue. To make the map, Plack  “scrubbed [the city’s vacant buildings data] with Google Refine … and then uploaded it right to cartodb,” he said in a post on the Baltimore Tech Facebook group.

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In addition to more than 15,000 vacant buildings, more than 17,000 vacant lots are spread throughout Baltimore city.

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Andrew Zaleski

Andrew Zaleski is a freelance journalist outside Washington, D.C. He's written for Wired, Backchannel, Popular Science, Fortune, the Washington Post Magazine, the Atlantic and elsewhere.

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