Neighbourhood Competitiveness – How Well Does Yours Rate?

If you’ve ever searched for which suburb you’d like to move to you’ve probably been through this exercise the hard way. Street directory, scale ruler, pen, and a wish list of stuff you’d like to have close to home… train station, shops, park, school etc.

With the advent of ‘big data’ we’re now seeing this information being used underneath interactive web-based tools that allow us to compare neighbourhoods against each other. We just select our criteria and the graphics show us which suburbs come out on top.

The city of Toronto has created such a web site. Whilst this site does seem to focus on basic stats around census data rather than attributes like street connectivity, walking distances and the like, it does show how powerful this data can be when it’s used to support such an interactive tool.


I haven’t yet found any other city sites that are as interactive as this, but suspect there are more out there.

Another city-wellness data source is direct survey. There are lots of these around, but it’s the Gallup research that I tend to gravitate to because of the sample sizes and survey durations. Gallup’s ‘2012 State of Wellbeing’ report, produced as part of their Well-Being Index, compares every State in the US and rates them for;

  • Life Evaluation
  • Emotional Health
  • Work Environment
  • Physical Health
  • Healthy Behaviours
  • Basic Access

Perhaps not surprisingly Hawaii is ranked No.1. [click image to go to source and research]

gallup us

What I’ll be interested to find is an online interactive site that allows us to compare neighbourhoods based on their wellness attributes. Not just the factors that Gallup have captured but also the range of urban design factors that contribute to better health, lower obesity and better ‘resident attraction’.

Once we have this data, local Councils and Cities will be able to effectively benchmark their performance and use the info to strategise how they become more competitive.


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