Our vision is to support the Durham community by aggregating and organizing information in a way that moves community consensus and investment decisions forward. To this end, we plan to create a web-based tool to generate various visualization from curated data to help inform policy makers during their decision-making process.

The first implementation on the data hub will for Affordable Housing. We want to ensure that we do not wait until it's too late for Durham to make the needed investments to ensure we remain a community with enough housing near employment for all socio-economic brackets.

We suspect the data visualizations that we have rendered on the hub are:

  • Time series data
  • Map Data
  • Other TBD

We have explored the DataSF Housing Hub as a place to start. Adapting the San Francisco implementation to be Durham-specific proved to be very difficult. So we made the technical decision to reboot this as a greenfield project that will house multiple projects, allowing each project to have it's own collection of visualizations that are rendered based on a curated data set.

How you can help…

Project Management - The project needs some TLC and some organization. We need to clean up the projects, and split the actual data hub work from the affordable housing implementation.

Product Management (Affordable Housing) - Determining what data visualizations we want to render, and gathering of the data to be published into the data hub.

Technical - We have made the decision that the front end and the back end will be separate deployments.

  • Front End - This has not been started. We are still open to input on the technology stack. We would like it to be some industry-standard front end framework - some have mentioned Angular as an option.
  • Back End - We are leaning toward a Django Rest back end with a Postgres DB that will be hosted on AWS.

Project Links

Other Project Links

For quick overview (if new to project), check out this Dec 10 affordable housing report provided by consultant Karen Lado to the City of Durham

This is an emerging project born out of this initial Project Scope Brainstorm.

Affordable Housing Issue Brief:

Sustainable economic development is difficult to get right. Durham is growing fast and may be missing the window to get the right policies and organizations in place to ensure it stays a place where people of all socio-economic backgrounds can work and live. Durham already lacks 14,500 affordable rental units according to DurhamCares. We don't want to live in a place with the same dramatic tension that San Francisco has experienced between the innovation/tech economy and those not in that sector. We want to be the model of sustainable urban growth in the digital age. We need tools to help guide the discussion.

Lack of public awareness around changes in affordable housing options in Durham and ability to track local inventories of rent within affordable ranges block by block as Durham grows is one major problem

Other Housing Problems:

  • How many rental units are available for people earning at 40-60% Area Median Income (AMI)?
  • Startups & low-wealth communities are at-risk of Ĺ“gentrification
  • Ensure housing inventory is aligned with workforce development efforts
  • Ensure affordable housing inventory is aligned with public transportation planning

Project Activity

Update #16


Committed an initial commit of an Angular 2 code base for a starting point for the front end of the project.

Digging into the wireframe to create some templates.


Updated the documentation for how to get up and running. Using DjangoRest with a Postgres database.

Update #15

On-boarded Several Developers.

Created 2 git repositories: (Front End) (Back End)

Created Waffle Boards for each repository:

Started to create tickets for the two projects.

Technical decision was made to keep the front end independent of the back end.

Back End technology will be built on Django REST framework with a Postgres database.

Front End technology will be built on Angular 2 framework.

Update #14

There have been lots of starts and stops to this project over time. So, reframing this as the Data Hub project with Affordable Housing as the first implementation of the Data Hub.

Here is a link to some new specification documentation. I can easily fill out the back-end service specifications and add waffle tickets to coordinate. We will want to add a front-end developer to help define the technology direction of the front end.

I will also move forward with setting up an AWS account and explore the free tier.

Update #13

Created interactive wireframes: and visual design: for the basic format of the website. Feedback is welcome!

Update #12

Here are some highlights of what we accomplished tonight:

We decided on a target audience we're going to focus on as the users for the firs draft of the site — Councilpeople of Durham.

We cleaned up the waffle board, and created several new waffle tickets.

We created a wiki page for running the site locally on OSX. We'll continue to build out documentation using the wiki.

We resolved 1 UI ticket re: the placeholder mobile header "Business Casual" with our "Affordable Housing" header.

We started work on determining how to integrate the pyzillow client for the Zillow api to gather data.

Update #10

  • Added a new graph for the ACS Gross Rent Percent Household Income ** The graphs were pretty cluttered ** Experimented with line, bar, stacked bar ** Experimented with rolling some of the data up ** Was pretty easy for Ron to manipulate the data and show visualizations locally

  • Worked with Sarah to bring her up to speed on the project and bounced ideas around with her to see if we could come up with a good way to show the data

  • Sarah had a great question - "What story do we want to tell?"


  • Need to be able to have others run the site locally
  • Need to deploy the site hosted externally
  • Need get a good grasp on the visualizations we want

Update #9

  • Created new, simpler application stack for exploring data (moved away from SF housing hub template)
  • Created Slack Channel for better remote, real time communications
  • Scheduled SME interviews with Karen Lado (Durham Aff Housing Consultant) & had call with Shoshana (Commercial Real Estate Professional)
  • Proved dynamic usage of Durham Portal data
  • Established process
  • Onboarded Jen H - Welcome!

Next Steps

  • Get current app hosted on GH pages (Ron)
  • Documenting latest app version in Github (Ron)
  • Create well-formed data for some new graphs (Ben)
  • Discuss strategy/priorities with Karen Lado (Adam)
  • Give UI feedback (Jen)

Update #8

The relative path issue for the css and links looks like it is now resolved on both the local and

There is still an issue with the graphs not showing on, but they are showing up locally.

Update #5

  • Merged new Data Browser to master repo
  • Downloaded ACS data for Durham
  • Started consuming JSON files
  • Worked on parsing txt to csv data visualization catalog

Update #3

Attendees: Derek (database/back end), Brittany (front end), Cat (front end), Ben (data/policy), Leah (data/research), Adam (Policy/partners), Chris K (real estate perspective)

  • Cloned the DataSF Data Hub Starter project in our affordable housing repo. To join the repo, just
  • Started a waffle board to add/manage next steps
  • Onboarded new members to the project
  • Reviewed the Dec 10 affordable housing report provided by consultant Karen Lado to the City of Durham

Update #2

[Notes from Ginny] Attendees: Brittany, Anne, Ginny, Adam, Mickey, & Derek

Summary: Good discussion on the history of this team and the priorities of those who arrived. A good discussion on activities that will help in the discovery:

  • Prototype a page or two from the San Francisco Housing Data Hub (
  • Pull data from Open Durham (ex County Population Vulnerability) into various tools such as Watson, SAS Enterprise, Pandas, …
  • Compare Durham to similar cities to assess how we are doing for affordability and accessibility to housing
  • Determine if there is data that the community could request to be added to the Open Durham site.

Next Meeting Prep (December 15)

Update #1

What's happening in community: Recent discussions with Durham CAN, Durham City Council, Self-Help, Durham Housing Authority, etc centers around downtown housing near the Durham Transportation Station, mainly re: options for

  • the use of public property to incentivize private developers to create housing developments with some affordable units, and
  • competition for limited State HUD funds for different projects.

Recent News (see great sources below)

Courtesy of Lisa Soorg and Bull City Rising blog