FAQ: Neighborhood Boundaries

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At Onboard Informatics we've been helping clients go beyond common geography searches to add real human context to culturally-defined areas for years. Here are some common questions we hear on using Neighborhood Boundaries.

Q. How are Neighborhood Boundaries defined? A. Neighborhoods are locally defined by various sources and are rarely, if ever, “official” boundaries defined by a government body. As such these local designations may have ambiguity in terms of where they begin and end. Neighborhoods are typically based upon cultural, housing, socio-economic and other characteristics that provide a flavor to the area. Over time, the boundaries between these areas may become less well defined and will certainly move. A great example of this movement is the shrinking of New York City’s Little Italy in conjunction with the growth of Chinatown. As neighborhoods are in constant (though slow) flux, there is often local disagreement as to what constitutes a neighborhood and its borders. Therefore, we have identified and consulted with a large range of sources in the compilation of this information including Real Estate professionals, government and municipal authorities, travel and hospitality professionals and other local experts.

Q. Why do certain neighborhoods have multiple names? A. Some neighborhoods go by multiple names locally and also overlap with each other. A great example of this is the Wall Street neighborhood in New York which is also part of and referred to as the Financial District. Onboard tries to capture and provide aliases whenever they are available.

Q. How are Neighborhood Boundaries commonly used? A. Our clients use neighborhood boundaries in a few key ways to help improve local SEO, to provide a better search experience for site visitors, to show the best depiction of the local market and even for data analysis.

SEO – Create neighborhood landing pages so when someone types a neighborhood name into a search engine your landing pages come up highly ranked. • Site Search – “Tag” listings with neighborhood names so user can search for listings in the “Financial District” instead of having to know ZIP Code 10004. • Map Display – Display Neighborhood Boundaries so visitors understand what each distinct neighborhood looks like on a map. • Data Analysis – Some Onboard clients use the boundaries to analyze other data by “aggregating” data such as office locations, home sales and pricing information so they may understand counts and values by neighborhood.

Q: What's the best way to display Neighborhood Boundaries on a map? A: Our clients receive an in-depth guide to help them trough implementation, including our suggestions for best practices with the data. We've worked hard to help our clients determine the single "best" neighborhood for an address or parcel, best practices for displaying multiple boundaries, etc. If you're not yet a client, get in touch with us to learn more.

Image Credit: Wikipedia Commons