We at Code for Philly are dedicated to fixing real world problems and empowering others to do so in our local community. After communicating with various departments within the city to try and figure out the most urgent matters to address, we have compiled a detailed list of problems. Each builds off of Philly’s Open Data initiative and the new Philly311 API, and helps to bring our city’s governance into the future.

Hackathon’s Datasets

  1. Effectiveness of free smoke alarm installation program: The Philadelphia Fire Department offers 10-year lithium battery operated smoke alarms free of charge for residents who request them through the 311 contact center. This project will examine the impact of this program on fire prevention. The analyst will link three databases: (1) 311 requests, (2) installation data from the Fire Department, and (3) data on incidents of fires from the Fire Department. The analyst will estimate any correlation between the installation of smoke alarms and the number and severity of fire incidents.

  2. Analyses of 311 informational questions: This project will examine underlying patterns of 311 calls related to informational questions. The analyst will aggregate large clusters of information questions and identify agencies associated with these clusters. The analyst will also identify specific policies or programs that are generating large numbers of the informational questions. This information can assist the agencies to improve their communication strategies by clarifying confusing aspects of their policies and services.

  3. Analysis of 311 service requests: This project will examine underlying patterns of 311 service requests. The analyst will identify clusters of service requests and associated agencies. The analyst will develop performance measures based on service requests and resolution of those requests. The analyst will also develop a dashboard with summary performance statistics. The city hall will be able to use these summary statistics to monitor and improve performance.

  4. Public resource allocation and need: Analysis of potential disparities among neighborhoods based on socio-economic status: This project will examine the relationship between socio-economic status of neighborhoods and their usage of city services. The analyst will estimate the level of service requests by neighborhoods (Zipcodes?) and estimate any correlation between it and socio-economic status of neighborhoods. In addition, the analyst will examine the level of resolution of service requests by neighborhoods and examine its association with socio-economic status of neighborhoods.

  5. Analysis of resolutions of 311 service requests: This project will examine types of resolutions and quality of the associated data. For example, there are many requests coded as being resolved within 24 hours. How many of these resolutions are accurate? The analyst will analyze a probability sample of these resolutions and examine their characteristics. The city hall can use the results to improve the quality of resolution data as well as policies and practices of agencies entering the data.

  6. Identification of substandard rental housing: Many rental properties in Philadelphia are unlicensed. Others are licensed but have many Property Maintenance Code violations cited by L&I. Landlords are required to test their properties for lead paint and submit certifications to tenants and to the City’s Health Department but most fail to do so. We want to find out: how to identify properties that are likely rental units but that do not have rental licenses?; what type/location of properties are most likely to be rentals with property maintenance code violations?; is there other data that can indicate whether the living conditions are unfit if L&I cannot inspect the interior of the property?

  7. Identification of properties being sold at Sheriff Sale: The tax foreclosure/sheriff sale process is long and complicated, and there is key data that is missing because it is siloed in multiple places. We want to have a database that identifies properties with L&I violations that are eligible for sheriff sale (based on Revenue’s tax delinquency data), in foreclosure proceedings (based on the First Judicial District’s court dockets), listed for sale by the Sheriff’s office (based on Sheriff’s Office data), or in post-sale proceedings (based on Sheriff’s Office data).

  8. Documentation network for best practices: Communication throughout City departments and within other government entities over general best practices and methods remains extremely difficult and imprecise. A manageable, clear, and efficient system must be developed and prototyped to bridge this divide.