Aug. 6, 2020

Tenant Power Application

Tenant Power just launched! This is an application I’ve been building under the auspices of Graphe with collaborators in the Mutual Aid Medford and Somerville Housing Justice Working Group recently launched. The application uses city assessor’s data from Boston, Cambridge, Somerville, Medford, and Brookline, Massachusetts to identify additional properties that are likely owned by the same landlord. The notion here is that tenant organizers face unique challenges in cities where residential architecture is predominantly double- and triple-deckers: small buildings with only a few tenants who don’t have much leverage by themselves. This app allows folks to organize across buildings.

We do this using a simple, supervised machine learning algorithm to deduplicate properties based on similar names, co-owner names, and listed owner addresses. Our code is all available on my GitLab, including the application itself (which is a node.js/PostGIS app with a Mapbox front-end) and the deduplication method (which uses the dedupe Python library).

We are, of course, inspired by efforts like the Anti-Eviction Mapping Project and WhoOwnsWhat by Just Fix NYC. We have also been inspired to see similar efforts appearing elsewhere in the US, including FindMyLandlord produced by the Chicago chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA).

  • Eric Robsky Huntley
  • They/them/theirs.*

  • Eric Robsky Huntley is a Lecturer in Urban Science and Planning in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at MIT where they maintain affiliations with the Data + Feminism Lab and the Healthy Neighborhoods Study. They also serve as a Lecturer in Landscape Architecture at the Harvard Graduate School …