Tag Archives: maps

Mapping Chicago by School performance

Happy November everyone! Hope you all had a great Halloween. Operation Porchlight was a great success and I'll have a report on it for you very soon. I'm still assembling all the results and feedback, though, so it may be a week or two before I can get to it. In the meantime, I wanted to share with you the results of some recent research I did for a buyer client.

These buyers are open to many neighborhoods in Chicago, but want to be able to send their kids to a good public school. So I utilized some of the new technology available through Google's Fusion Tables to make a map for them.

Of course, I am personally no arbiter of school quality so I went to a source that is. I made a list of all of the elementary schools ranked on GreatSchools.org as either an 8, 9 or 10. Greatschools bases their rankings chiefly on test scores using a 10 point scale, with 10 being the best. They also offer the opportunity for students, parents and school faculty to give feedback. I included magnets, charters and neighborhood ("district") schools in the list, but did not include private schools. I find them to be a very useful resource for both objective and subjective critiques of not only the grade schools that I surveyed but also the high schools and private schools.

After assembling my list of schools I paid a visit to the fabulous data warehouse for Chicago public information located at data.cityofchicago.org. I pulled down the freely available geographic locations for each of the schools on the list, including the attendance boundaries for the schools that have them. I mashed it all up in a fusion table. Enjoy.


There’s No Such Thing as a Safe Neighborhood

When I start working with a new renter or home buyer to find them a new place to live in Chicago I have a certain list of questions that I review with them. It helps me to figure out what they're looking for and refine the search criteria that I will use in the MLS. Included in this list are things like their price range, the names of the decision makers, their timeframe for moving, whether or not they have pets, whether or not they smoke... all of these are very basic questions that most folks can easily answer.

Then comes the big one. "What neighborhood would you like to live in?"

Many at this point will have a list of areas that they'd consider acceptable. Some even have street coordinates beyond which they do not wish to live. I love clients like that. But at least half of the time there will be this comment: "I want to live in a safe neighborhood."

And I wince inside. (more…)