Inspired by mutual aid, this crowdsourced digital map of Halifax shows which vacant properties could be turned into housing. How useful is that data?

For 18 months, people in the city have been helping to identify empty buildings, in a community effort to tackle Halifax’s housing crisis.

Why It Matters

Crowdsourcing data from the community can take the onus away from local social purpose organizations to gather their own data. However, it also raises concerns about the quality and reliability of the data, and members of the community may not understand ethical issues that surround data collection, such as privacy, ownership and sensitivity.

This independent journalism on data, digital transformation and technology for social impact is made possible by the Future of Good editorial fellowship on digital transformation, supported by Mastercard Changeworks™. Read our editorial ethics and standards here.

As of September 2022, nearly 700 people in Halifax – the traditional lands of the Mi’kmaq people – were experiencing homelessness, according to the Affordable Housing Association of Nova Scotia. That number has more than doubled since the year before. This was the context in which journalist Lorax B. Horne created


For limited access, create a FREE account

Limited Time Offer

Unlimited Access

Only $24 for the year 

80% off the standard annual membership ($119.50)

Enjoy unlimited access to insightful social impact journalism, special reports, talks and events that fuel your learning, development and decision-making.

For group membership discounts, contact us.

Already have an account? Log in

These special introductory offer is not available to current subscribers of the same subscription type. Your payment method will automatically be charged in advance the introductory rate indicated in the offer above for 1 year, and after 1 year the indicated standard. Your subscription will continue until you cancel. Cancellation takes effect at the end of your current billing period. HST taxes apply. Offer terms are subject to change