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What Ever Happened To Blexting?

April 12, 2019

As much as it may sound like one, blexting is not a teen fad of the recent past. It is the concept of co-mingling a crowdsourced solution for the documenting of urban blight with the power of social media and ease of texting. The source of the idea can be traced back to a decade ago when Jerry Paffendorf, Mary Lorene Carter, and Larry Sheridan co-founded Loveland Technologies. Loveland Technologies worked with Data Driven Detroit and others on the Motor City Mapping project.


“Detroit residents can now use a ‘blexting’ app — short for blight texting — to send photos
about derelict properties to a mapping database in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)”

The Blexting App from Loveland was a key tool that allowed a small army of everyday people in 2014 to collect data about changes such as deterioration of or improvements to the almost 400,000 properties in the city of Detroit, MI. One result, the surveying was completed in less than 2 months. Another was it empowered local government agencies to act in an informed manner. Based on the effort Detroit was awarded nearly 50 million dollars by the federal government for blight reduction.

Last year The City of Detroit unveiled it’s Open Data Portal for providing updated public record information. Perhaps the most important outcome of the inception of blexting, it provided proof of concept to a noble idea. Empower citizen-driven collection of big data to solve real problems using the tech devices that just about everyone carries around with them all the time.

Earlier this year, Loveland Technologies released its nationwide land parcel data mining site, that anyone can “surf,” and coming soon the Motor City Mapping survey will be updated. However, the real promise of blexting becoming a tech trend revolution in the gathering of important data about communities has yet to really blossom. Let’s hope it does.


“Detroit Getting $50 Million to Fight Blight.” Detroit News, 16 Dec. 2014,

Lewan, Amanda. “Why Blexting Is The Next Tech Term To Know.” Michipreneur, 24 Feb. 2014,

“Motor City Mapping.” Data-Smart City Solutions, Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation,

Muller, David. “‘Blexting’ (Blight+texting) App Enlists Community to Help Detroit Fight Blight.” Mlive.Com, 15 July 2014,

“Press Release: Loveland Technologies Releases Landgrid.Com for Nationwide Land Parcel Data.” LOVELAND,

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