The Market

Can a judgmental new map help you pick a place to live?

By Virginia K. Smith  | October 17, 2014 - 1:59PM

Neighborhood identity in New York is a delicate thing, an ever evolving mix of people and places that, um, can be easily categorized and tracked in map form? That seems to be the thinking behind a new map tool from software company Esri, which has broken down Zip Codes across the U.S. (and in NYC) into "67 profiles of American market segments" based on population data.

For instance, if you plug in 10036 in Hell's Kitchen into the map, you'll find that the neighborhood is 45 percent "Laptops and Lattes" residents ("Affluent, well-educated singles and partner couples who love life in the big city and hold professional positions in business, finance, legal, computer, and entertainment"), 24 percent "metro renters" (young, educated people likely to live with roommates), and 14 percent "trendsetters" (what it sounds like):


There are also tabs that can show you more objective data on median household income in the area, age breakdown, and population density. The tool is generally geared towards developers to help them understand what to build and how to market in a given neighborhood, and, as Gothamist points out, there are some notably tone-deaf details here, particularly the euphemistic labeling of Hispanic renters as "International Marketplace."

Still, we could see it coming in handy if you're considering an unfamiliar new neighborhood—perhaps a budget-friendly alternative to your first choice? After all, it's helpful to know, for instance, if other young people live in your prospective new 'hood or of it's more of a haven for "Golden Years" residents ("active, independent seniors"). Whether or not you want to live in the midst of the laptops and lattes crew? Well, that's up to you.


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