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Using data science as a community advocacy tool to promote equity in urban renewal programs: An analysis of Atlanta's Anti-Displacement Tax Fund

by   Jeremy Auerbach, et al.
Duke University
Stony Brook University
Georgia Institute of Technology
Georgia State University
The University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Cities across the United States are undergoing great transformation and urban growth. Data and data analysis has become an essential element of urban planning as cities use data to plan land use and development. One great challenge is to use the tools of data science to promote equity along with growth. The city of Atlanta is an example site of large-scale urban renewal that aims to engage in development without displacement. On the Westside of downtown Atlanta, the construction of the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium and the conversion of an underutilized rail-line into a multi-use trail may result in increased property values. In response to community residents' concerns and a commitment to development without displacement, the city and philanthropic partners announced an Anti-Displacement Tax Fund to subsidize future property tax increases of owner occupants for the next twenty years. To achieve greater transparency, accountability, and impact, residents expressed a desire for a tool that would help them determine eligibility and quantify this commitment. In support of this goal, we use machine learning techniques to analyze historical tax assessment and predict future tax assessments. We then apply eligibility estimates to our predictions to estimate the total cost for the first seven years of the program. These forecasts are also incorporated into an interactive tool for community residents to determine their eligibility for the fund and the expected increase in their home value over the next seven years.


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