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Built in partnership with the City of New Orleans, BlightStatus makes it simple for residents to find out what’s going on with blighted properties in their community – no long waits on the telephone or visits to City Hall required.

Why does this matter?

In New Orleans, countless organizations are working around the clock to improve local communities and reduce blight throughout the city -- from community groups and non-profits to City Hall and the local Redevelopment Authority (NORA).

However, each of these organizations collect and manage data about blighted properties in entirely different ways, which results in duplicated efforts, inconsistent information, and precious energy wasted.

We’ve partnered with New Orleans City Hall and NORA to create this site to provide accurate and up-to-date information about the City’s efforts to reduce blight that everybody can use. We hope that this simple and publicly-accessible resource will make the work of these great organizations just a little bit easier.

If you'd just like to try out the site, you can do that here.

Or, if you'd like to contribute to this project, read on!

Build Status

Build Status [travis]:

Dependency Status

Dependency Status [gemnasium]:


You can see a live instance of BlightStatus running at


git clone git://
cd blightstatus
bundle install
rake db:migrate

Instructions for Ubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin (LTS)

Instructions for Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard


rails server

Deploying to Heroku

This application has some particular challenges when deploying to Heroku. You need to have a Postgis-enabled database.

If you're using Taps to manage your database, Taps will not recognize the Postgis adapter type. In order to use Taps, you have to change the adapter in your database.yml file to from postgis to postgres. You also need to temporarily change the database URL on Heroku. To do this type this on your console:

heroku config postgres://path-to-your-database

If you push or pull a database using taps, your spacial column types will not be saved. On your console type:

heroku pg:psql
ALTER TABLE addresses ALTER point TYPE Geometry USING ST_GeomFromText(point);
ALTER TABLE streets ALTER the_geom TYPE Geometry USING ST_GeomFromText(the_geom);

This will convert the data from text to the proper geometry type.


In the spirit of free software, everyone is encouraged to help improve this project.

Here are some ways you can contribute:

  • by using alpha, beta, and prerelease versions
  • by reporting bugs
  • by suggesting new features
  • by translating to a new language
  • by writing or editing documentation
  • by writing specifications
  • by writing code (no patch is too small: fix typos, add comments, clean up inconsistent whitespace)
  • by refactoring code
  • by closing issues
  • by reviewing patches
  • financially

Submitting an Issue

We use the GitHub issue tracker to track bugs and features. Before submitting a bug report or feature request, check to make sure it hasn't already been submitted. You can indicate support for an existing issue by voting it up. When submitting a bug report, please include a Gist that includes a stack trace and any details that may be necessary to reproduce the bug, including your gem version, Ruby version, and operating system. Ideally, a bug report should include a pull request with failing specs.

Submitting a Pull Request

  1. Fork the project.
  2. Create a topic branch.
  3. Implement your feature or bug fix.
  4. Add tests for your feature or bug fix.
  5. Run bundle exec rake test. If your changes are not 100% covered, go back to step 4.
  6. Commit and push your changes.
  7. Submit a pull request. Please do not include changes to the gemspec or version file. (If you want to create your own version for some reason, please do so in a separate commit.)

Supported Ruby Versions

This library aims to support and is [tested against][travis] the following Ruby implementations:

  • Ruby 1.9.2
  • Ruby 1.9.3

If something doesn't work on one of these interpreters, it should be considered a bug.

This application may inadvertently work (or seem to work) on other Ruby implementations, however support will only be provided for the versions listed above.

If you would like this library to support another Ruby version, you may volunteer to be a maintainer. Being a maintainer entails making sure all tests run and pass on that implementation. When something breaks on your implementation, you will be personally responsible for providing patches in a timely fashion. If critical issues for a particular implementation exist at the time of a major release, support for that Ruby version may be dropped.


Copyright (c) 2012 Code for America. See LICENSE for details.

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