The Neighborhood Knowledge Los Angeles (NKLA) Project will give community residents the information tools needed to improve living conditions in low-income neighborhoods. Through the use of technology, low-income residents of rental housing in Los Angeles will be able to track neighborhood and property conditions and use this information to influence community development and housing policy.
The project will integrate several databases to develop an interactive Neighborhood Electronic Monitoring System (NEMS). Users will be able to view comprehensive information on a property at one time, rather than having to look at each database separately. For example, a community resident could view a map of the neighborhood, select an individual property, and through the click of a mouse, obtain information on any tax delinquencies, code violations, utility liens, and other signs of neglect. NKLA will develop a code enforcement tracking system that will enable residents to monitor the City's responses to housing code complaints and violations much the same way people use the Internet to track delivery of express mail packages. To identify and pinpoint community strengths for rebuilding, NKLA will develop a community asset mapping program. Through neighborhood-oriented web pages, community residents will be able to find information on churches and community groups, innovative social programs, and youth activities. NKLA will work with community groups and libraries to provide computer training and Internet access for community residents. In particular, NKLA will provide training on how residents can use the information the project makes available to improve living conditions.
NKLA will provide a national model for how community leaders and residents of low-income neighborhoods can use information tools to strengthen their communities. Through the NKLA databases, communities will have access to vital information to hold property owners and local governments accountable for housing conditions. Through asset mapping activities, residents can build on community strengths. The project will also enable community leaders, city staff and elected officials to view the early warning signs of neighborhood decline and target enforcement and reinvestment strategies. While an increasing number of government agencies are making databases available to the public, NKLA will take those efforts an important step further by transforming raw data into formats that are meaningful and useful for community residents.
The lead organization for the project is the UCLA Advanced Policy Institute. Major partners include the Los Angeles Housing Department, the Los Angeles Library Department, the Los Angeles Information Technology Agency, the Los Angeles Community Redevelopment Agency, the Community Development Technologies Center, the Southern California Associations of Government, and the Western Center on Law and Poverty. In addition, the project will work closely with the Community Development Information Coalition, a broad-based coalition of nonprofit organizations, city agencies, and financial institutions.