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Human Potential in the Age of Exponential Tech

My 2.0 Life: Five Sites to Use When Moving to a New City

I have some exciting news, as of September I will be relocating to Chicago for three months to work on some cool projects- which I’ll be able to talk about very soon!

Now I’ve never been to Chicago and was faced with the daunting task of figuring out a place to live, etc. Thankfully, the Internet came to my rescue, and I found some pretty great sites that I thought I’d pass along to anyone who finds themselves destined for an unfamiliar city.

I’m going to be writing about my experiences in moving to a new city in terms of leveraging social media to find a place, meet new people, get informed, etc. So stay tuned for more of those posts as we get closer to September, I’ll be tagging them with “My 2.0 Life”

1) Housing Maps.com

A great mash-up combining Craig’s List with Google Maps. You can filter search results by price and search for properties to rent or buy. This was how I found my new place within a few days. For someone who doesn’t know the geography of a city that well, this is a great insurance policy to ensure you’re not responding to an ad that’s out in the boonies somewhere, and saves you the effort of having to Google Map each individual listing.

2) WalkScore.com – The Search for a walkable neighbourhood

Since I won’t have a car in Chicago, it was important for me to find a place that had all the amenities I needed close by. Here’s how it works: you input your address and it calculates the “walkability” based on the availability of nearby stores, restaurants, bookstores, cafes, schools & parks. Scores range from Car Dependent to Walker’s paradise, and the map helpfully points out all the amenities by name and distance.

A neat feature about this mash-up is you can use Google’s Street view to virtually check out your new digs. Especially useful for those of us that can’t go down beforehand in real life.

3. Chicago Explorer

This one is city-specific but I’m sure similar things exist for whatever city you’re looking for. I’ve been really impressed by how some realtors have upped their game in terms of providing potential buyers with the right information needed to make a decision. This mash-up contains the city of Chicago with various options that you can overlay on the map including transit routes, hospitals, pharmacies and more. It also provides some great demographic maps that break down the types of people living there (young professionals vs. families)

I also found a great Google Map showing the Chicago with an overlay of neighborhood boundaries. This helped me out as it gave me a visual idea of the different areas within each city.

4) Every block – Crime Mash Up

Again, you can find these for pretty much any city (Everyblock also has maps for SF, Charlotte, New York City and Philadelphia) but Chicago was one of the first cities to do this, and very helpful for a certain New Media Maverick in making sure she stays out of Murderville and finds a nice place in Hip&Ecclectic Town. It was a pretty close call actually, I was about to choose a place and then I realized that there had been a little too many murders/assaults/robberies/house invasions for my liking.

5) Walk/Jog/Run

Another Google Mashup if you like to walk/run/jog or in my case stroll/skip/saunter this is a great site that can help you find the best routes. You can map your own route or check out routes that other people have created. It even has a nifty distance filter that lets you pick search for routes that are a particular distance.

I think this would make a great Foush Reports Episode! Maybe I’ll have some time to shoot it tomorrow, we’ll see.

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