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A New Site Puts The Hyper Into Hyperlocal

BlockAvenue lets you get incredibly granular data on specific blocks in cities–everything from crime stats to what stores are there to a place for residents to interact.

A New Site Puts The Hyper Into Hyperlocal
Williamsburg, Joseph A via Flickr

What’s it like to live on a block? Not just the general neighborhood, but the specific location? There are plenty of places online you can look for answers to this question, including Google Street View, Walkscore, Yelp reviews, and various government databases. But probably nothing approaches the comprehensiveness of BlockAvenue, a new service that’s taking “hyperlocal” to a new level of hyper-ness.

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A startup based in downtown Boston, BlockAvenue has divided up the U.S. into a small pieces, and then aggregated as much data as it can find to start telling stories about them. Its sources include crime statistics, sex offender registries, business start lists, as well data about schools, stores, transit–really everything that makes a block a block. On top of that, BlockAvenue pulls in geo-located updates from Facebook, Twitter, FourSquare, SeeClickFix, and others. And, if that’s not enough, you can read what your neighbor thinks, and post your own reflections.

After weighing everything together, the site assigns the area a score, from A through F, giving an immediate snapshot. “We are painting a story about this location and what’s going on, and whether it is trending in a positive or negative direction,” says founder Tony Longo.

BlockAvenue has a website in beta, and will launch its mobile app in the next few weeks. Longo describes the latter as like a Facebook feed, bringing all the data into one place. You move your finger over the blocks you want to know about, and the app does the rest. “You’re telling us to keep you posted with anything and everything that happens in that shape on the map–a bicycle is stolen, Jay-Z is playing a concert, a Foursquare tip on a new coffee shop.”

Longo hopes to make money by selling services to real estate companies (40 million people either buy or rent each year). Previously, he founded a real estate startup called Condo Domain, so he knows the market well. More than that, though, he hopes BlockAvenue will help socialize areas. “It’s a very cool way to connect with local businesses and put names to faces you see every day,” he says. “It’s a transformation of unfiltered neighborhood activity to a simple digital format.”

About the author

Ben Schiller is a New York staff writer for Fast Company. Previously, he edited a European management magazine and was a reporter in San Francisco, Prague, and Brussels.

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