Departmental Papers (City and Regional Planning)

Document Type

Journal Article

Date of this Version

January 2005


Reprinted from Journal of Community Practice, Volume 13, Issue 1, 2005, pages 121-139.
Publisher URL:


Community information systems (CINS) are emerging as important tools for community, government, and educational organizations. This paper considers the training, evaluation, and outreach efforts relating to the Philadelphia Neighborhood Information System (NIS), a collection of online applications that integrate and distribute housing and demographic data. It presents an overview of the types of NIS users and uses and some specific examples of how the NIS is being used for individual property inquiries, community surveys, needs assessments, and research. Finally, the paper discusses the barriers to more analytical uses and offers recommendations for social work education aimed at preparing social workers to support community organizations in their efforts to harness the potential of CINS for social change.



Date Posted: 04 October 2006