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Independence Plaza is a diverse neighborhood in Historic Northeast Kansas City. Located between Independence Avenue and I-70, this neighborhood extends from Paseo Boulevard on the west to Benton on the east. Its diversity includes many cultures, land uses, and housing types. This neighborhood has two commercial corridors (Independence Avenue and Prospect Avenue) and adjacency to the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences. The prevalence of households without vehicles is almost twice the city’s average, however, the proximity to downtown jobs, service providers, and local retail along Independence Avenue makes this location a convenient commute for the residents of Independence Plaza.

The strong neighborhood leadership of Independence Plaza Neighborhood Council has long looked out for the nearly 1,000 households in their boundaries. The neighborhood has suffered disinvestment and poverty for many decades and the majority of residents are renters. Westside Housing Organization, a local non-profit Community Development Corporation, partnered with Hoxie Collective to gain an understanding of the neighborhood housing needs and explore a working relationship with the Independence Plaza Neighborhood Council. The neighborhood council asked Westside Housing and Hoxie Collective to focus a study on the following priorities:

  • Understanding of neighborhood-wide property conditions

  • A strategy for eliminating blighted vacant and abandoned structures

  • Locations of crime and fires

  • A strategy to increase affordable housing options in proximity to community assets and planned investment

  • A strategy to attract high-quality like-minded investors

The team began by engaging the neighborhood council in dialogue on their priorities and experiences in their neighborhood. We also had the good fortune to socialize at a neighborhood Valentine’s party and talk with residents of all ages about their passion for this place. Our first round of data collection and analysis resulted in maps and graphics that told a story about who lives there, how they get around, what they do for a living, as well as land use, ownership, vacancy, and crime in the area. We received feedback and guidance from the neighborhood council on our findings.

Next we walked the blocks surveying conditions of every parcel of housing. This round of analysis showed scored conditions of structures (including those assumed abandoned), ages of structures, types of structures, dumping and other 311 nuisances, as well as the overlay of crime. Again, we received feedback and guidance to refine this analysis into a set of tools that would provide immediate value to the neighborhood council. The first deliverable is a set of My Maps tools to share the neighborhood study widely and support strategic conversations with developers and rehabbers, city staff, police, and the fire department on protecting and supporting the neighborhood. Next a set of tutorial videos on how to use the My Maps tool was provided to the neighborhood council and they opted to share these openly as well. All of the data sets are also shared with the neighborhood along with descriptions of their use. And finally, a set of brochures describing resources for renters and homeowners was created to distribute as part of a communications campaign to expand engagement and participation in the Independence Plaza Neighborhood Council.



Kansas City, Missouri




Warren Adams-Leavitt

Westside Housing Organization

Director, Strategic Initiatives


Neighborhood Leadership

Independence Plaza Neighborhood Council

Tom Ribera, President


Laura Remy, Secretary

Document Links

Tutorial video links

Getting Started in myMaps

This video gives a brief overview of the information available in the Independence Plaza myMaps tool.

Independence Plaza myMaps Tutorial: Attracting a New Neighbor

In this video we cover how to use the different layers in the Independence Plaza myMap tool to make an informed decision about investing in the neighborhood.


Independence Plaza myMaps Tutorial: Addressing Challenges

In this video we cover how to use the different layers in the Independence Plaza myMap tool to make an informed decision about investing in the neighborhood.


Independence Plaza myMaps Walk Through

Take a tour of all the data in the Independence Plaza myMaps tool. This video gives an in-depth overview of all the layers and resources in the map. 

Adding Your Own Data

Learn how to add your own data to the Independence Plaza myMap tool.


How to Make a Map

Learn how to make your own map. 


Editing the Map

Learn how to make edits to the data in the Independence Plaza myMap tool.



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