Finding info on city tools & other things

20 posts in this topic

Posted

This post is for links / info that are common to any city. So if anyone has any other useful links for finding out info on a city, post in this thread only.

Accidently stumbled upon a ranking of the squirrel population at a variety of colleges, and thought it might be amusing (and informative :wink: )

http://www.gottshall.com/squirrels/campsq.htm

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Posted

I really appreciate that link.

Honestly.

Squirrel-wise, it looks like I'm headed for better vistas! YES!

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Posted

I wonder how he would rate my undergrad in terms of squirrels. We have LOTS of them, but they range in temperment from very friendly to downright evil. There is one particular squirrel that I could swear waits for me to return to my dorm each day only so that s/he can throw small objects at me. It's actually gotten to the point that I automatically cover my head whenever I walk past his/her favorite tree

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Posted

I don't want this to sound like an advertisement, but I found a cool forum that goes into a bit more detail about various cities. The website is http://www.city-data.com/forum. Since most of my schools are in smaller communities, it has been a good resource for me finding out more about them. Feel free to check it out.

Note: I have not been paid by any website to post this (or any of my other forum/blog posts). I'm just trying to be helpful.

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Posted

This post is for people to post resources that they think will help others deciding between or looking to learn more about particular places.

BankRate's Cost of Living Calculator is a good one: http://www.bankrate.com/brm/movecalc.asp

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Posted

I see a lot of posts about whether a car is necessary in any given city. If you're interested in how "walkable" your potential new home will be, you can plug the address into http://www.walkscore.com

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Posted

I see a lot of posts about whether a car is necessary in any given city. If you're interested in how "walkable" your potential new home will be, you can plug the address into http://www.walkscore.com

That too is somewhat less than reliable, at least with it's overall "walkablity" score. It rated two different addresses in the same town quite differently, despite the fact they were equally walkable. It said that the town was "car dependent" when I just entered the town name and state, but when I added a street number it said it was "somewhat walkable". Also, the distances listed to various things like supermarkets, bars, etc seemed to pick a random example from each category. I can honestly say I've never heard of some of the ones they selected for my town, and there are closer ones than the ones they listed.

The "walkablity" of a town really depends on how far you're willing to walk. A town could be less walkable if it lacked sidewalks in places, like the area I live in now. I'd say the best way to find out if you need a car in an area is to see how far it is to the things you need, like grocery stores, and determine if you'd want to walk that far. Also, check for buses and see if they go where you want to go at useful times. You should also take weather into account. Will you want to walk the distance to campus if it's snowing, raining, below zero, or over a hundred? Are area you'd be walking lighted enough that you'd feel safe walking at night? If they aren't lighted, would you feel safe enough if you just had a flashlight or headlamp? Some of these things can't really be determined from a distance.

My opinion is that you can walk just about anywhere, some places are just friendlier than others for walkers. I live in a place that most people say it's impossible to get by without a car. Yet I don't have one, and I do just fine.

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Posted

Accidently stumbled upon a ranking of the squirrel population at a variety of colleges, and thought it might be amusing (and informative :wink: )

http://www.gottshall.com/squirrels/campsq.htm

even the squirrels love the place i'm going to ... reassuring, to say the least :D

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Posted

Is anyone else using the power of colorful spreadsheets to weight their funding offer against area COL?

I made a spreadsheet using the COL index from http://realestate.yahoo.com/neighborhoods.

A value of 100 for the COL index is the national average, and 110 would be 10% more expensive, etc.

I used the following formula: [stipend/Fellowships - Fees] * 100 / [COL index].

That way, a large offer in the northeast often evens out against a lower offer in the midwest, etc.

The problem with a COL index, though, is that its heavily influenced by mortgage rates and house prices and things that aren't going to affect a grad student. So, I also looked at the average apt and energy costs in the area from bankrate's COL calculator, as well as what I thought I might actually end up paying for housing based on what current grad students pay. I then divided the funding offer by 12 and subtracted those potential housing figures to understand how much I would make in-pocket each month.

Has anyone found a better method?

BTW: Also in my spreadsheet: area demographics, weather stats, department specs (cohort size, # of qualifying exams, etc.), walk score, and squirrel quality :D

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Posted

Is anyone else using the power of colorful spreadsheets to weight their funding offer against area COL?

I made a spreadsheet using the COL index from <!-- m -->http://realestate.yahoo.com/neighborhoods<!-- m -->.

A value of 100 for the COL index is the national average, and 110 would be 10% more expensive, etc.

I used the following formula: [stipend/Fellowships - Fees] * 100 / [COL index].

That way, a large offer in the northeast often evens out against a lower offer in the midwest, etc.

The problem with a COL index, though, is that its heavily influenced by mortgage rates and house prices and things that aren't going to affect a grad student. So, I also looked at the average apt and energy costs in the area from bankrate's COL calculator, as well as what I thought I might actually end up paying for housing based on what current grad students pay. I then divided the funding offer by 12 and subtracted those potential housing figures to understand how much I would make in-pocket each month.

Has anyone found a better method?

BTW: Also in my spreadsheet: area demographics, weather stats, department specs (cohort size, # of qualifying exams, etc.), walk score, and squirrel quality :D

sounds like an interesting spreadsheet. don't suppose youd be willing to share it with us would you? it could be a great thing for the community to contribute to for a nationwide survery

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Posted

I don't want this to sound like an advertisement, but I found a cool forum that goes into a bit more detail about various cities. The website is http://www.city-data.com/forum. Since most of my schools are in smaller communities, it has been a good resource for me finding out more about them. Feel free to check it out.

Note: I have not been paid by any website to post this (or any of my other forum/blog posts). I'm just trying to be helpful.

this is HUGELY helpful - thanks a ton!!

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Posted

this is HUGELY helpful - thanks a ton!!

I keep trying to use City-Data, but for some reason when I click on a thread it does not show up for me. I have tried using four different browsers. Anyone else have this problem?

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Posted

No problem here. I use Firefox. I'm sure that's one of the four you tried though.

I keep trying to use City-Data, but for some reason when I click on a thread it does not show up for me. I have tried using four different browsers. Anyone else have this problem?

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Posted

I keep trying to use City-Data, but for some reason when I click on a thread it does not show up for me. I have tried using four different browsers. Anyone else have this problem?

also clear your browser's cache and cookies every once in a while. but so far, the links work for me. i use firefox.

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Posted

My favorite city-site ever is www.bestplaces.net which compiles census data on EVERYTHING about a city, from cost of living to average drive-time to air and water quality. It's awesome and extremely comprehensive.

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Posted (edited)

Best way to find a place to rent in almost any city: www.padmapper.com

edit: link

Edited by space.cadet

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Posted

The following link may be of use.

http://verylocaldata.com/

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Posted

here's a database of searchable apartment reviews : http://www.apartmentratings.com/

especially useful for researching non-local areas...

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Posted (edited)

 http://www.oodle.com

 

It creates local markets in your city for selling things (similar to craigslist), but also blends jobs, rental properties, items for sale, etc. into one website. 

Edited by DigDeep

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