Date Archives August 2014

Get to Know Your Neighbors – It’s Good for your Health! (How to Evaluate Neighborhoodiness)

I spend a lot of time thinking about connectivity and connectedness – “being part of something” is one of the most important criteria my buyer clients define.

The end of neighbours – How our increasingly closed-off lives are poisoning our politics and endangering our health

It’s a new day in the neighbourhood all across the Western world. More than 30 per cent of Canadians now say they feel disconnected from their neighbours, while half of Americans admit they don’t know the names of theirs. An Australian sociologist investigating community responses in the wake of the 2011 floods in Queensland found relations in “a precarious balance”; neighbours were hesitant to intrude even in emergencies—leading the scholar to conclude that “we are less likely than ever to know” our neighbours. Quite right, too: A recent poll of 2,000 Britons found a third declaring they couldn’t pick their near neighbours out of a police lineup.

Yet it’s hardly surprising, given how lengthy working days, long commutes and having both parents in the labour force have combined with the way we raise our children to create suburban neighbourhoods that are empty more than half the day, with scarcely a neighbour to encounter, let alone recognize, trust or befriend. But, however powerful the economic and social forces behind the disappearing neighbour—and however positive many of its results—according to reams of new research, the transformation is also poisoning our politics and, quite literally, killing us.

And another perspective on similar studies:

Always Talk to Strangers – People who know and trust their neighbors are less likely to have heart attacks. New research builds on the understated health benefits of a sense of belonging and community.

The study du jour, published in Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, is based on assessments of social connectedness in 5276 adults in urban, suburban, and rural areas. The subjects rated how strongly they agreed with the following four prompts:

• “I really feel part of this area.”
• “If [I] were in trouble, there are lots of people in this area who would help.”
• “Most people in this area can be trusted.”
• “Most people in this area are friendly.”

The responses landed the participants on a seven-point Likert scale. And then they were followed. Four years later, 148 of them had experienced heart attacks.

“On the seven-point scale,” Kim explained, “each unit of increase in neighborhood social cohesion was associated with a 17 percent reduced risk of heart attacks.”

“If you compare the people who had the most versus the least neighborhood social cohesion,” Kim continued, “they had a 67 percent reduced risk of heart attacks.”

But how does a stranger assess neighborhoodiness?

How friendly is the neighborhood?
– Knock on doors
– Walk your dog or kids (borrow one or the other or both if you don’t have them) in the neighborhood
– Drive through and see who waves (really).
– Does the neighborhood have a Facebook or Nextdoor group? I haven’t tried this yet, but I think i might start asking for a printout of the past few conversations if such a page does exist …

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Uber in Charlottesville

If you haven’t used Uber, you’re missing out. I’ve used the service in the big cities and it’s a tremendous service. The taxi competition in Charlottesville

Just received this awesome email from Uber:

‘Hoos ready to ride?! We’re excited to announce that uberX has made its way to the city of Charlottesville. With the push of a button, Cavaliers and Cville residents can now request a safe and affordable ride.

Update 29 August 2014 – This is a highly relevant article from The Atlantic’s CityLab – Uber Has an Enormous Wait Time Advantage Over Regular Taxis

Related stories:

– Cab wars: Why new taxi technology is making some drivers mad – C-Ville, March 2013
– How many Yellow Cabs can one town hold? – C-Ville, June 2014

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Boys and Girls Club Cycling Challenge 2014

bgc_logo_trans_2014.png

First things first – you can donate to the Boys and Girls Club here. I’d personally appreciate any donation you can muster. I rode this ride last year for the first time (accomplished 75 miles, aiming for 100 this time) and the cause is a tremendous one.

1 – What is the Boys and Girls Club Ride?

Join hundreds of regional and pro cyclists on September 14, 2014 as they take off from Old Trail Village in Crozet, Virginia. During the Challenge, you’ll course through the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. There are 25, 50, 75 and 100-mile routes, and an 8-mile family fun ride. Riders are treated to a finish line party including lunch, local wine and beer, and live music. Over the past eight years, the Cycling Challenge has grown into Virginia’s premier fall cycling event.

2 – Why ride? How did it start?

Various avid cyclist in tandem with the Boys and Girls Club developed the event about 7 years ago as a way to get kids on bikes, teach them both training and life skills, and to raise funds for the whole club. This is one of the biggest fundraisers for BGC of Central VA each year.

3 – Who benefits?

All 1,800 of kids of BGC of Central VA

5 – How many riders?

We’re targeting 450 registered riders for 2014

6 – How does this compare to other regional rides?

This is a very well supported with Rest Stations (police, support cars,food, drink, etc). Great after party (food, drink, live band, pool)

7 – How can people help?

Get registered to ride on the website. Donate funds to a registered riders. Volunteer to help support event day. Volunteers are needed for event day registration/packet pickup, setup, food, support cars and aid stations, cleanup.

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Using Google to Find your Triangles

Downtown Mall at the Center

What’s your triangle?* The above is from a map on which I was drawing the Downtown Mall, Belmont and what is “walking distance” to Downtown and UVA for some clients.

I’ve found that many, if not most, of my clients have specific triangles – geofences of sorts – that guide their buying areas.

The top squiggle in the box is 29 North. The circle in the center circle is the City of Charlottesville. The two points of the triangle to the West represent home and school. Typically, my clients’ lives (and my life too, when I’m playing dad/husband and not Realtor) lead them to at least three points on a daily basis, and determining these points is often challenging at best to do from afar, or quickly.

– Which school will my kids attend?
– Will there be redistricting?
– At which grocery store will I shop?
Wegmans? Whole Foods? Kroger?
– Which coffee shop?
– Which library?

Much of what I do is knowing how and when to guide and my clients to see the value of these data points, as well as help them know what’s around the corner. (Did you know there’s going to be a subdivision there?)

Enter Google:

Today, Google is tracking wherever your smartphone goes, and putting a neat red dot on a map to mark the occasion. You can find that map here. All you need to do is log in with the same account you use on your phone, and the record of everywhere you’ve been for the last day to month will erupt across your screen like chicken pox.

(I have location history turned off on my phone, otherwise I’d have used one of my own screenshots)

So … if you’re moving to Charlottesville, take my advice to rent before you buy – turn on google’s location history and use them to better understand your triangles. And once we’ve figured out the triangles and have a foundational understanding of the Charlottesville real estate market, we devise a path forward.

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August’s Monthly Note – The Market, Neighborhood Context and a Question about Archives

This month’s note, while a bit late, will be published late this week. I’m hoping to dive into some meatier topics so the editing process is going to be interesting.

I still find the monthly-note-writing experience interesting and find myself referring more and more often to the stories I write there; the triangles segment from last month is one I might end up publishing here on the blog.

One of the questions I’ll be posing this month is whether I should publish the subscription-only notes here once a year. Thoughts welcomed.

If you are interested in reading only one email every month that incorporates market analysis, sometimes tangentially related real estate stories, and a summary of the better blog posts every month on RealCentralVA and RealCrozetVA, two clicks and it’s yours. (subscribe today and I’ll send you July’s note as a primer)

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