Comparing LACITY Open Data with Official Reports
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Comparing LACITY Open Data with Official Reports

  • This exploration looks at data reported in the Aug 25, 2016 Quarterly Status Report of Mayor Garcetti's Executive Directive 13, Support for Affordable Housing.
  • The status report, addresses the Mayor's goal of permitting 100,000 new housing units by 2021 as there are not enough housing to keep up with the demand in one of the nation's most expensive metropolitan regions.
  • Can open data be used to reach the numbers as reported by the Mayor's Office?
    • Open data can only go so far in analysis due to the limited information municipal goverments are willing to give in the public datasets. This may be due to an issuing department's concerns of the quality of the data, or their unawareness of the need for more detailed datasets.
    • The methods outlined here may or may not arrive to the official numbers, and documenting them here on github invites others to participate in testing out alternative ways and try other datasets that could reach a more accurate representation of the housing status in the City of Los Angeles.
    • In the end, it's not about the results but to see if citizens, academics and professionals can use open data in support of improving the quality of information published by municipal governments.

##Open Data Sources

  • Building and Safety Permit Information from the LACITY Open Data Portal | Issued by the Department of Building and Safety | Last Updated Aug 15, 2016 | Link to full permit dataset
    • Note: Permit issue dates start at 1/01/2013 to 8/11/2016
    • This dataset contains building permits, electrical permits, and mechanical permits.
    • Copy of full dataset from this update can be downloaded in this repo.

##Reports and other prepared datasets

##Explorations and methods ###Total Dwelling Units reported in Building Permits


The mayor's office published status report on 8.25.2016 indicated that since July 1, 2013 to June 30th 2016, the city has issued permits for 40,805 dwelling units. Further research with other reports data sources come close to the reported total, this includes:

  • 40,911 - LADBS Newsletters
  • 40,100 - Census Building Permits Survey

Raw permit data is published on the city's data portal, which has a terrific detailed breakdown of permits by address, permit type, description and it also includes geocoordinates for mapping. There is opportunities for further analysis on a local level which can include totals by Council District, Community Plan, Neighborhood Council. The geocoordinates can be used to generate maps for additional inquiry.


The raw data is filtered by Fiscal Year, so its consistent with the reports. Using the socrata platform, the data was filtered using:

  • Permit Type is Bldg-New
  • Issue Date is after End Fiscal Year
  • Issue Date is before Start Fiscal Year
  • # of Residential Dwelling Units is greater than 0

Filtered results in comparison to reported totals. Also included is the number of building permits (All types) issued. Links to raw results.

Data Comparison of LACITY Reports with Open Data
Note: A fiscal year (FY) begins in July 1st - June 30th
Dwelling Units Dwelling Units Permits Issued Permits Issued Dwelling Units
8/2016 Status Report LADBS Newsletter LADBS Newsletter LACITY Data Portal LACITY Data Portal
2014 Fiscal Year
FY14Q1 1,665
FY14Q2 2,977
FY14Q3 3,247
FY14Q4 3,146
FY14TOTAL 11,035 11,035 134,000 130,180 9,879
2015 Fiscal Year
FY15Q1 2,580
FY15Q2 3,420
FY15Q3 4,518
FY15Q4 4,376
FY15TOTAL 14,894 15,000 141,000 137,794 13,765
2016 Fiscal Year
FY16Q1 3,819
FY16Q2 4,523
FY16Q3 3,470
FY16Q4 3,064
FY16TOTAL 14,876 14,876 157,000 153,061 13,756
Total 40,805 40,911 432,000 421,035 37,400


This exploration is part of [] (, a collection of maps and data visualizations exploring Southern California, one section at a time.

The analysis, maps and code behind the explorations contribute to the services I offer as a consultant developing analog and digital tools and visualizations for Civic Engagement, Planning, Land Use Development and Public Policy. Think you could use my services?

Contact me Omar Ureta | Twitter | Email : omaru[at] | Website | linkedin