Building around Data Lets You Do More with Tools You Already Have


In 2016, the City of Montgomery, AL was grappling with serious property challenges. Out of town investors were buying up rental properties, but not keeping them up. Long-abandoned properties requiring demolition posed health and safety risks. Blighted properties of all kinds generated nuisance complaints and worse. Because the State of Alabama allows municipalities to form land banks, the city asked eProperty Innovations to help them evaluate if and how a land bank might help. With many strategies in play and resources stretched thin, the city worried a land bank might stall its momentum.



eProperty Innovations works with dozens of land banks and was able to help Montgomery holistically evaluate its blight elimination strategy.

Key Activities:

  • Stakeholder interviews, participant observations, and community meetings
  • Data analysis and data mapping
  • Research on City of Montgomery ordinances and policies
  • Best Practices research for regulating absentee property ownership
  • Interviews with other Alabama municipalities who were dealing with similar problems
Montgomery, AL Capitol Building


Our consultant determined that with city staff already committed to aggressive blight elimination and the city possessing existing authority to regulate absentee rental property owners, a new land bank was not needed. We recommended Montgomery save creating a land bank for future consideration, but in the meantime, pursue other strategies.

Additional Strategies:

  • Enforcing an existing business licensing ordinance against rental properties
  • Appointing a Community Revitalization Officer within the Mayor’s office to improve coordination
  • Consider adopting a vacant property registration ordinance
  • Use data and technology to identify tax forfeited property that could be conveyed to responsible owners for redevelopment and reuse
Chris Conway Montgomery Alabama

“As open data grew [in Montgomery], we saw opportunities to let data start driving our decision making process…We’re holding ourselves more accountable.”

– City Services Director, Chris Conway

(Source: City of Montgomery YouTube)


Following our project, Montgomery reorganized key staff to better align functional responsibilities and continued to aggressively demolish blighted properties. It also adopted a data system to better highlight the incidence of blight and refocus its efforts. While the city may yet develop a land bank, ultimately using tools it already had in its toolbox better served its immediate needs.

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