New feature: Neighborhood trends

Jan122009

We’re really excited about this one. Today, we’ve launched a new feature that helps you find longer-term trends in your neighborhood or around your individual block.

Historically, EveryBlock has been timeline-focused. When you enter your address, ZIP code or neighborhood into our site, we give you a timeline of recent news. This is a nice, simple way for us to present the news around your immediate area — and just last week, we improved it so you can go back in time.

But beyond serving city residents who want to keep tabs on neighborhood happenings, we also serve a second audience: people who are moving to a new place, or comparing neighborhoods, or researching specific places in some other way. These people appreciate our daily crime reports, news article archive, etc., but haven’t had a straightforward way to view neighborhood trends on our site — until now.

Now, when you search for an address, ZIP or neighborhood, you’ll see a new option: a link to “Overview.” Here’s what it looks like:

Screenshot of 'Overview' link

Click that, and you’ll see our brand-new overview page. This shows you the last news for each EveryBlock category:

Screenshot of 'Overview' page

This is convenient in that it gives you the latest few news items for each category — the latest crimes, the latest geocoded news articles/blogs, the latest restaurant inspections — but the real gold is in the “Trends” tab. Click that for a given category, and the first thing you’ll see is a timeline of items relative to your block or neighborhood. For example, here’s the timeline of relevant news and blog coverage within 8 blocks of 10 N. State St. in Chicago:

Screenshot of timeline

This gives you an overview of the number of news items of the particular type, by day, over the last few weeks. You can click a day to view the full list for that day. The same timeline is available for each type of information, so you can see timelines of crimes, building permits, restaurant inspections, photos, etc. Can you spot any trends in your neighborhood?

For some types of information, we offer additional breakdowns in various ways. This is best demonstrated by example. For Chicago crimes, we display the top 10 types of crime in the specified area:

Screenshot of 'Crimes by primary type'

The coolest thing is that this is available for every block, for every neighborhood, for every applicable type of information. The possibilities here are endless, and we’ve spent a lot of time clicking around ourselves because it’s so fun and interesting. Top restaurant violation types in a given neighborhood; top building permit types within a certain block radius; most common years of mortgage for foreclosures in a certain area. It’s a wealth of location-specific information.

We’re sure that researchers, apartment-hunters and normal city-dwellers alike will find this useful, interesting and fun. Take a look, and let us know what you think.

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