November 11, 2012

A Livability Index

We’re always interested in ways to measure how Special a place is.  A website called areavibes.com has a Livability Index that has some interesting assumptions.

First, let’s see what it makes of some places most of us agree are Not Particularly Special (by which we mean we wouldn’t live there for free and we also wouldn’t live there unless we were paid Larry Ellison’s stock options).

Here’s areavibes on Detroit.

121110-areavibes-detroit

Detroit, MI is “Somewhat Livable.”  The only “A” grade it received was in cost of living, and that’s because the city will pay you to take one of their excess houses so they don’t have to pay to tear it down.  We can’t imagine what kind of city would merit a “Completely Out of the Question.”  Let’s move another to another Perennial of Pwnage: Stockton.

121110-areavibes-stockton

I can see the new Civic Motto over City Hall (if they have any staff capable of hanging banners): Stockton! Four Points More Livable Than Detroit!  But they are an important four points, as Stockton is considered “Very Livable.”

We now move on toward the Bay Area, but not the Good Part.

121110-areavibes-hayward

When Stockton has finer amenities than you do, and their weather is better too, plus your housing costs are unacceptably high to anyone outside the Bay Area, what’s the point of even entering the race?  Let’s try a better zip code.

121110-areavibes-sanjose

Ooooo!  Exceptionally Livable!  And what’s really exceptional is that if we type in an actual zip code, the score went down.

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Good luck figuring out why.  Finally, we arrive at the pinnacle of Real Bay Area Living.

121110-areavibes-cupertino

We invite you to try to score higher than that, either in the Bay Area, or anywhere else.  And we don’t want you to think these “grades” are completely pulled out of Mitt Romney’s car elevator.  Here, for example, is what the housing grade is based on:

121110-areavibes-cupertino-housing

Cupertino scores higher than average in every category.  Why would they be marked down for better numbers?

This is also your Weekend Open Thread, so go crazy.

Comments (17) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:11 am






April 23, 2011

What’s Your Home’s Walk Score?

imageZillow has added Walk Scores to homes on their site.  You can look up your house on Zillow or on Walk Score and see how walkable your neighborhood is, according to their formula.  The score is by the maps are on your house’s page.  Do you agree with your home’s walk score?

My neighborhood has a Walk Score of 65, or “moderately walkable.” However, there’s a new beta feature on Walk Score called Street Smart, which adds in number of intersections per square mile and block length in calculating the score, and on that measure my neighborhood goes down to 54, or only “Somewhat Walkable.”  What it doesn’t measure is how pleasant or unpleasant the walk is, based on number of shade trees or how well the sidewalk is maintained.

imageOh, it’s got some bugs, like calling a catering company run out of someone’s house a restaurant, but the idea makes sense.  I just don’t see being within 100 feet of a commercial zone as a good thing.  When I ran the same scores on a house across the street from some commercial zones near Fremont and Mary in Sunnyvale, the scores went up to 80 (Very Walkable, Walk Score) and 65 (Somewhat Walkable, Street Smart).  But another house behind a different big batch of retail centers at the corner of Hollenbeck and Homestead got scores of 66 and 69.

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Feel free to report your Walk Score, or vehemently disagree with the algorithm, or bring up any topic you wish.  This is an Open Thread.  Remember, tomorrow is Easter, so late start to Spring Bounce this year!

Comments (12) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:08 am