The Message – 2016.09 – Affordable housing: data, policy, people; open data hearing; geo data standards.

#BetaTALK – Affordable Housing: Data, Policy, People

Caption: Affordable Housing Panel. Far left - Left to Right Panelists - Caitlyn Brazill, CAMBA; Moses Gates, Regional Plan Association; Emily Goldman, Cornell University & BetaNYC; John Krauss, Carto & Accursed Ware. Far left Moderator: Lucio Tolentino, BetaNYC
Caption: Affordable Housing Panel. Far left – Left to Right Panelists – Caitlyn Brazill, CAMBA; Moses Gates, Regional Plan Association; Emily Goldman, Cornell University & BetaNYC; John Krauss, Carto & Accursed Ware. Far left Moderator: Lucio Tolentino, BetaNYC


BetaNYC hosted a lunchtime #BetaTALK discussion at Civic Hall on July 8th, centered on the topic of affordable housing in New York City,  The motivation for the event was to share knowledge about this extremely important and complex topic, to stimulate more collaboration among people who work in this realm, and to inspire members of the Civic Tech community to further their own involvement in it. This #BetaTalk is available in its entirety on the BetaNYC Youtube Channel.

Some Highlights – Find the entire article on Beta.NYC

  • Rent-stabilization represents the backbone of affordable housing in New York City. The number of rent-stabilized units is not 100% certain, but is estimated to be between 800,000 and 1,000,000 units.
  • PLUTO/MapPLUTO is parcel level data containing 83 fields of information per parcel across the city. Shapefile format (MapPLUTO) shows up-to-date building footprints. PLUTO data is available to download per individual borough. SOURCE
  • HPD takes a Housing and Vacancy Survey Report every three years, which has detailed information about affordable units and their residents. SOURCE

A Heartfelt Thank You to Our Panelists!

  • Caitlyn Brazill, Vice President of Strategic Partnerships,  CAMBA @ctbrazill
  • Moses Gates, Director of Community Planning and Design, Regional Plan Association@MosesNYC
  • Emily Goldman, Ph.D Candidate, Cornell University & BetaNYC
  • John Krauss, Hacker in Chief, Accursed Ware, Carto @recessionporn
  • Moderator: Lucio Tolentino, BetaNYC Co-Organizer @lucio_tolentino



Find upcoming civic tech events, updated by the community, on If you would like your event to appear on The Message, post it on in the Events Corner!

There are three upcoming events we would like you to know about.


NYC Council – Open Data Oversight Hearing – Sep 21

Every year, the City Council hosts an oversight hearing calling on the public to submit their ideas on how to improve the City’s open data practice. Every year, we encourage the city’s open data and civic technology community to give testimony on their user experiences. Our testimony and advocacy has added SEVEN new laws that are improving the City’s open data practice.

If you can’t attend in person, you can watch via the Council’s live stream. If you are coming,join us here.

Transportation Camp – Sep 25 – $25

TransportationCamp NYC 2016 will foster open conversation and collaboration between all parties interested in mobility and the radical changes the near-future promises in transportation.

Registration link

White House Open Data Innovation Summit – Sep 28th

“Please join us for the first-ever White House Open Data Innovation Summit to showcase the power of data in tackling the biggest challenges of our democracy, creating positive change, and strengthening the broader civic community.” See more …


Report Back on TreesCount Data Jam 2016

On Saturday, 4 June, NYC Parks hosted its second Data Jam, unveiling NYC’s latest urban forest dataset, the most spatially accurate map of New York City’s street trees ever created. Together with BetaNYC, NYC Parks hosted NYC’s fourth National Day of Civic Hacking event. In total, 196 participants got their first hands-on look at the street tree data that has been collected to date and by the end of the day, 23 projects were conceived and built to compete for six prizes. Read the full summary …


BetaTalk NYC 311 Call Center Inquiry Dataset Launch

NYC 311 and DoITT launched a new 311 dataset at the July 7th BetaTalk. This is one of the City’s largest data sets. In this data, you can see how 311 service request calls are triaged. Watch the entire event on BetaNYC Youtube Channel.


Get Involved

Find opportunities to connect with the civic tech community at If you are looking for help on a project, post the opportunity on in the Developers Corner or inWorking Groups!
Give feedback on NYC’s proposed geospatial open data standards

Last year, we supported the passage of Local Law 108 of 2015. Earlier this year, we worked with NYC Parks to explore a handful of data formats ensuring human readability and the ability to locate that data. Today, we are excited to support the City’s efforts to gather the widest feedback possible. We encourage everyone to provide feedback and help grow a new data standard. Note, public comments will close on Thursday, September 15th. Provide feedback here!


Search Experts! Check Out NGA’s Disparate Data Challenge

“The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) seeks to unearth innovative ways of retrieving and analyzing data in different locations, formats, schemas and interfaces. It recently released an engineering problem on for participants to demonstrate capabilities that enable access to data with wildly disparate formats, schemas, interfaces and locations.” Get involved!


NYC 311 Call Center Inquiry Dataset.

“We’d love to know who is working with this data, how they are using it, and what can be improved.” Get involved!



Find job opportunities in the civic tech community on If you would like your event on The Message, post it on in the Jobs Corner.


Blue Ridge Labs at Robin Hood looking for a Research and Design Lead

“If you’re an entrepreneurial community-builder with design expertise and a passion for improving the lives of low-income families, you can learn more here…

Civic Hall Labs is hiring: CTO, UX director, and Communications Associate.

“Civic Hall Labs is currently seeking accomplished and civic-minded individuals to join our team. We’re looking for dynamic folks who can appreciate the unique challenges and opportunities of designing and developing technology for public good, and who feel passionate about people-first processes and critical evaluation.” Learn more here…


In The News

Touted Bloomberg Anti-Poverty Incubator Sees New Life in De Blasio Era  @GothamGazette

“Data-driven Center for Economic Opportunity paves way for workforce development vision in Career Pathways”

Open gov groups team up on new database of local open data policies  @State_Scoop

The Sunlight Foundation and OpenGov Foundation launched “Open Data Policies Decoded” to help share how cities manage their open data programs.


A huge thanks to Lexi Quint for organizing this month’s message!