Capital Region and Mohawk Cities Working Together to Fight the Blight: Combating Urban Blight through Regional Information Sharing Pilot Project


Project started on Aug. 3, 2015 (Still Active)

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Project Background

Cities throughout the United States are facing persistent and costly blighted and vacant properties.

These properties consume endless resources, depress market values, and directly affect public safety and economic development.

Some studies show that properties follow a predictable and costly 5-7-year cycle as they move from distressed to blighted or vacant and some

This cycle is difficult, if not impossible, to disrupt in some cases because of limited data about the status of such properties. Some property owners have capitalized on this inability to share data and continue to avoid scrutiny or penalty for multiple derelict properties.

Experts believe that the cycle can be interrupted if there is access to the information necessary to identify and track this cycle combined with an understanding of the underlying systemic causes of blight.

Consistent and easy access to high quality and usable data is critical for the early identification of property decline.

A city’s success in reversing the cycle centers on the organizational and technical infrastructure necessary to collect, manage and share property information frequently and easily within the city, as well as with community partners, the public, other cities, and the State.

The absence of the necessary technologies, policies and practices in some small- to medium-sized cities is a significant barrier to combating vacant and blighted properties. New capabilities to share information would help shine a new light on chronic violators and allow cities to proactively prevent the spread of blight.

Project Summary

Four cities of Schenectady, Troy, Amsterdam, and Gloversville have partnered with us to address the code enforcement information needs throughout the region in order to support programs that target urban blight. This two-year effort has the following objectives:

  • Build technical and organizational code enforcement capabilities within each city so each can increase the efficiency and effectiveness of their own code enforcement programs.
  • Develop the technical, data, and policy frameworks for a shared code enforcement information resource, laying the foundation for a future statewide network.
  • Encourage increased uniformity in process and definition to enable regional information sharing.
  • Establish a culture (and community) of knowledge sharing among the four cities (and others in the future) so that NYS governments can work together to fight the blight.

Press Releases & News Stories

Regional Economic Development Council Awards

The New York State Regional Economic Development Councils (REDC) announced the REDC awards in Dec. 2014 and released the awards project list.

Project Kickoff

Press Conference

Officials from Schenectady, Troy, Amsterdam and Gloversville with the New York Department of State and CTG UAlbany kicked off the project in May 2015. Watch the video of this press conference

Publications & Results

Project update at Rockefeller Institute of Government (RIG) 2019 Research and Practice in Progress Briefing on Local Government in New York on March 14, 2019.


As civic and government leaders work to address blight within their communities, they continue to find challenges associated with access to information to inform their investment and decision making. 

A project spearheaded by the Cities of Schenectady, Amsterdam, and Gloversville and funded by the NYS Department of State, addresses this information gap by providing government leaders with access to information on a range of actors (owner, agent, landlord, individual and LLC) associated with blighted properties.

The Community Officials Data Exchange (C.O.D.E.) is a dedicated data sharing platform, governed by NYS local governments, to share data across jurisdictions and offers current practices around code enforcement, vacant property management, landlord registration, rental inspections, demolition management, and foreclosure management. 

The C.O.D.E. will be an available resource (2019) serving NYS governments as they work to fight blight in their communities.

Funding Sources

Funding for this project is provided by the New York State Department of State’s Local Government Efficiency (LGe) Program.