Figuring out where to move is an aggravating guessing game: How far is this new house to work? If I want a short commute via bus, where can I live? Can I afford this?
Ordinarily, you'd have to spend way too long sorting through all these variables. But if you're thinking about a place in the San Francisco Bay Area, you're in luck, thanks to a phenomenal interactive map created by Stamen for Mig.[Click to see interactive version]
On the left, the map has several modes of transit, ranging from car sharing to walking. Below that, you can pick your length of commute. And below that, you can select your price range. The map then shades in all the neighborhoods that lie within your parameters.
In the absence of data, we often rationalize the downsides.
This is great for the many of out-of-state folks who still want to head to "Baghdad By The Bay," despite California's many fiscal woes. Granted, if you're familiar with San Francisco, this map isn't going to tell you anything that you don't already know. But what it will do is alert you to the true costs of your decision: For example, is moving just a couple neighborhoods over really worth spending another 30 minutes in transit? In that case, a tool like this can be pretty invaluable -- especially given how fuzzy our logic gets when making living choices.
In other words, when we see a place that's not quite perfect, we often rationalize the downsides: "It's not that far away," or "Maybe this won't be so bad." In the absence of data, our minds can go on vacation. Don't believe me? Scientists have shown that an hour less of commuting makes you just as happy as making $100,000 more a year. But somehow, when we're thinking about moving to the boonies, that reality never quite sets in.
[Hat tip: DataVisualisation.ch]