Detroit Residential Parcel Survey

The Detroit Residential Parcel Survey was a landmark survey of Detroit’s residential property. It was conceived and implemented by the Data Collaborative, a partnership between the Detroit Office of Foreclosure Prevention and Response (FPR), Community Legal Resources (CLR) and Data Driven Detroit (D3).

Surveyors went out in the field in August and September of 2009 to survey every residential property with one-to-four housing units in Detroit. This included 343,000 parcels containing 229,634 single-family houses, 21,793 duplexes, and 1,168 multi-family structures up to four units. It did not include large apartment buildings or commercial structures.

In the process, they collected information on building type, condition, vacancy, fire damage, and open and dangerous conditions in order to create an unprecedented baseline for neighborhood organizations, foundations, and city departments to use in planning. Vacant lots were also identified and classified.

D3 executed the mapping requirement for the survey, along with project predevelopment and survey data processing. D3 continues to perform survey analysis, and participates directly in the training and program rollout.

The long-term goal is to create a Neighborhood Reporting System process that community residents can update regularly.

The Detroit Residential Parcel Survey revealed that 86 percent of the city’s single-family homes appeared to be in good condition, and another 9 percent generally needed only minor repairs. In all, that meant that more than 218,000 or 95 percent of the city’s single-family homes appeared to be suitable for occupancy.

The survey also found that 26 percent of the city’s residential parcels – or 91,000 lots (67,843 unimproved and 23,645 improved) – were vacant. Data from the survey should help planners by showing exactly where the vacant lots are. (The survey did not identify vacant property that is primarily industrial or commercial.)

Government officials, community organizations and individuals have unprecedented access to the data collected in the survey, which are being analyzed by blocks, neighborhoods and larger districts within the city. Individuals visiting the web site will be able to view a block or neighborhood profile just by typing in a single or multiple residential property address, census tract, census block group, or census block.