The spot where I’m sitting right now has minimal traffic noise, high air quality (with very little associated cancer risk), high rents in the surrounding area, little child care availability, high-quality food access, and lots of people living nearby who have health insurance. I know all of this just from zooming in on my location in the new Neighborhood Score app, which uses open data to generate a "neighborhood score" for every area in San Francisco
If you’re about to buy or rent a new home, chances are you’ve taken a look at the location’s Walk Score, which crunches all the the data on the walkability and public transportation access of any address into a single score. But walkability is only one part of any neighborhood’s story.
Neighborhood Score combs through 20 open data sets (from federal, state, and local government) to come up with a score out of 100 points based on eight factors: community, economy, education, environment, housing, and public realm. My overall score is just 57—economy and environment all get high scores, but education and housing drag the total score down.
Click on any individual factor (each has its own score) to learn what variables are taken into account. For the public realm section, quality food access, recreation area access, and public art are all considered. For housing, rent burden, no-fault evictions, and health housing violations are analyzed. The app, built by local startup Appallicious, is the first to use San Francisco’s new Home Facts Data Standard—an open data housing feed for the city (other cities can sign up here).
Yo Yoshida, the founder of Appallicious, believes the app will be useful for residents as well as advocates and legislators. "Traditionally, a lot of this data was hidden in the back pages of websites or massive spreadsheets. Legislators didn’t know how to find this stuff," he says.
Yoshida says that the app is replicable in any city; data points that aren’t available can be replaced by others. Nonetheless, when Neighborhood Score was presented at the recent U.S. Conference of Mayors, a number of mayors were nervous about the prospect of adopting the app. "It does expose things. There’s a lot of concern, but at the same time a lot of excitement," says Yoshida.
Neighborhood Score is available to download in Apple’s app store now. An Android version will be released in about a month.