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City adopts standard to provide transparent, understandable open housing data

The City of Kansas City, Mo., has partnered with Code for America and five other cities to debut a brand new way to get open housing data directly to residents in an understandable format. Called the House Facts Data Standard, it innovatively presents the health and safety history of every Kansas City, Mo., house and apartment.

“The City’s adoption of the House Facts Data Standard builds upon its commitment to government transparency and open data,” said Mary Miller, the City’s chief information officer. “Adding building inspection data to the City’s open data catalog adds just one more type of information that will benefit residents.”

Developed by Code for America and City of San Francisco staff, the House Facts Data Standard compiles building inspection data from multiple sources and provides that raw information to the City. That information is then uploaded in a uniform format to the City’s open data catalog at, or directly at Apps and visualizations may be created using this information.

This format allows the data to easily be displayed on popular websites that residents use to make home purchase and rental decisions. Already several companies – including Trulia, Lovely, Padmapper and Civic Insight – have committed to integrating the open housing data onto their websites. The data also is available on the City’s Open Data Catalog for civic hackers or any resident to use.

“The House Facts Data Standard will help Kansas Citians make more informed decisions about their housing purchases,” said Millie Crossland, technology project liaison. “In addition to the information the realtor provides, residents can be informed about permits, inspections and the violation history of a property from the comfort of their computer or mobile device.”

Crossland has already pulled all of Kansas City’s building data onto the City’s open data catalog. Once the City confirms that the data is in the correct standard, it will be updated daily.

“We have the City’s building data all uploaded and we will next add inspection and violation data,” Crossland said. “We continue to work on the project with plans to add all inspection and violation before the end of September.”

The City’s open data catalog was launched in January 2013 and features line item detail for a wide variety of City information, including the budget, traffic counts at signals, crime data, 311 Call Center data and much, much more.

Other cities participating in the House Facts Data Standard include Olathe, Kan.; Las Vegas, Nev.; Bayview, Wis.; Gary, Ind.; and Bloomington, Ind.

About Code for America

Founded in 2009, Code for America is a nonprofit collaborating with local governments to foster and facilitate innovation. Code for America is known for its fellowship program, which embeds tech and design professionals in local governments explore new approaches to resolving local challenges. For more information, visit


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