By Derk Steemers, CMO of Place I Live
The startup PlaceILive.com uses open data in order to help its users make better informed decisions on where to live. PlaceILive has its tools live for New York, Chicago and San Francisco in the United States, plus Berlin and London in Europe.
The open data comes from sources like the US Census, NYPD, MTA, Google, Foursquare, Socrata and Breezometer. The problem with this open data is that it is scattered, hard to find and visually unattractive. PlaceILive unclutters the information and makes it available to the public in an attractive user interface.
In the following blogpost I’ll present the three key features in the website that can help people decide where to live:
The maps include all sorts of data on demographics and amenities. They visualize all sorts of information that prospective homeowners or future residents need: from demographics like age, unemployment, and crime to internet speeds, air pollution, and nearby coffee shops.
These maps give the user an insight into the character of a neighborhood without ever visiting the locations.
Life Quality Index (LQI)
Place I Live includes a signature algorithm, which calculates the Life Quality of a neighborhood, street or house.
The Life Quality Index (or LQI) ranks the area on 7 different aspects: transportation, demographics, daily life, health, sports and leisure, safety, and entertainment. The numerical score goes from 0 to 100 being excellent quality. With the overall LQI score people can easily compare different neighborhoods, streets and houses on livability.
Whereas the maps visualize the character of a neighborhood, the LQI measures the quality of it. The Life Quality Index measures aspects like the availability and proximity of all kinds of services, shops, public transport, facilities and how safe it is. To help prospective homeowners, PlaceILive has also created an API that allows real estate agents to integrate the Life Quality Index scores for specific addresses in their listings.
All this information allows PlaceILive users to cherry pick homes that fulfill their needs best. For some it means being close to certain amenities, for others it means being a part of a community with like-minded people. For instance, new parents might like to live in a community with other married couples, expats might want to stay in an area where they can speak their mother tongue to ease the transition, and students flock to areas with more people their age. Using the PlaceILive maps these groups can find exactly what they are looking for.
Besides all the information that is already available on their website, PlaceILive also researches their own data in order to offer extra services to their readers and the press. So far they have already tackled where in Berlin most bicycles get stolen and where in London businesses do best. They publish these results on their blog, Facebook and Twitter page.
The company positions itself as the Yelp for neighborhoods, but its potential lies far further than only rating and ranking neighborhoods in the five cities it operates.
Besides the open data, the startup is working on integrating feedback from its community. As data can be misleading from time to time, they want to give residents the opportunity to speak up and represent their neighborhood on the platform. With great success as PlaceILive’s database of registered users is rapidly growing and so is the feedback they are leaving on their website. Also, you can vote for the city to be next Place I Live.com proyect here. Join the conversation!
How would you use open data to choose a place to live? Include your comments below!