As part of a White House initiative to utilize data to “improve economic mobility for all Americans,” Seattle-based online real estate brokerage Redfin today unveiled a new product that grades neighborhoods based on proximity to jobs.
Called “Opportunity Score,” the new tool shows U.S neighborhoods that have nearby jobs which pay $40,000 and are within a 30-minute commute, even for those that don’t own a car.
“Affordability is a growing challenge, one we see first hand as a real estate brokerage helping people buy and sell homes,” Redfin Chief Economist Nela Richardson said in a blog post. “But the price of a home or the cost of rent is only part of the equation. People want a home where they can have a reasonable commute to work, participate in the community and access opportunities that can provide a better future for their children.”
The tool, which is still under development, will become part of Redfin’s Walk Score product, a similar tool that ranks millions of addresses across the country based on their walkability, bikeability or proximity to public transportation. Redfin acquired fellow Seattle-based startup Walk Score in October 2014. The new “Opportunity Score” tool uses data from Walk Score, in addition to publicly-available federal data and Redfin’s own information on home sales and rentals.
Redfin will discuss “Opportunity Score” during a livestreamed demo event today hosted by The White House, which partnered with other companies, developers, data scientists, engineers, and more for “The Opportunity Project,” a wide-ranging initiative that officially launches today.
The White House today released federal and local datasets “on key assets that determine access to opportunity at the neighborhood level.” It encourages technologists, community groups, and local governments to utilize the data as a way to “expand fair housing and increase economic mobility.”
“The Opportunity Project will put data and tools in the hands of civic leaders, community organizations, and families to help them navigate information about critical resources such as access to jobs, housing, transportation, schools, and other neighborhood amenities,” The White House wrote today. “This project is about unleashing the power of data to help our children and our children’s children access the resources they need to thrive.”
Redfin was among 12 companies that are working with the White House on “The Opportunity Project.” Other Seattle-based organizations like Zillow and Socrata also built their own open data technology — here are descriptions from The White House:
— “Zillow released ‘Invest in the Future,’ a new tool that identifies areas of a city with access to opportunity that also have the potential for affordable housing development.”
— “Socrata will now allow for data comparisons between cities, counties and metro areas by including Opportunity Project data in its nationwide Open Data Network, normalizing it, and optimizing it for search engines so the data is easy to discover. Opportunity Project data scan now be incorporated into all Socrata domains.”
Redfin has been involved with government-related projects and discussions as of late. The company hosted a community event last month at its headquarters in Seattle, inviting Mayor Ed Murray and other leaders for a discussion about keeping Seattle’s housing costs affordable during the current tech boom.
Murray last month also signed an executive order that instructs city departments to make their data more accessible to the public as part of a new open data policy.