Know your neighborhood

Know your Neighborhood: POIs and Other Indicators of Neighborhood Change

Over the years, we have relied on economic indicators to gauge the strength of our economy, social indicators to assess the welfare of our people, and environmental indicators to understand the threats and consequences to our environment. However, these indicator projects have predominantly operated on a large scale, from international measures to city-level assessments, leaving out the vital perspective of neighborhoods. Yet, within a single city, we find a diverse range of neighborhoods, spanning from affluent residential areas to working-class communities that house the city’s industries. The disparities between these adjacent neighborhoods are significant, making neighborhood change-level indicators an essential tool for residents to convey an accurate narrative about their community and address the unique challenges they face. 

Exploring the dynamics of a neighborhood goes beyond its physical attributes, encompassing the people, businesses, and essence that make it truly special. Thanks to the advent of location data and intelligence, we now have an unprecedented opportunity to delve deeper into our neighborhoods, understand their evolution, identify Points of Interest (POIs), and even decipher the effects of gentrification.

What is Neighborhood change?

Neighborhood change refers to transforming and evolving a specific area or community over time. It encompasses various social, economic, and physical changes that occur within a neighborhood. Various factors, including shifts in population demographics, changes in land use and development, alterations in the availability of amenities and services, and socioeconomic trends can influence the process of neighborhood change.

Neighborhood change can take different forms, and its impact can vary widely depending on the context.

The Rise of Location Data and Intelligence

Location data has become a valuable asset that provides insights into people’s movement patterns, preferences, and behaviors. With the advancements in data collection and analysis techniques. It has emerged as a powerful tool to understand and analyze neighborhoods at a granular level. By harnessing location data, we can gain a comprehensive understanding of a neighborhood’s composition, trends, and changes over time.

Unveiling Points of Interest (POIs)

Points of Interest, or POIs, are key establishments that shape the character and identity of a neighborhood. They include restaurants, cafes, shops, parks, schools, and much more. Through location data, we can identify and map these POIs, painting a vivid picture of a neighborhood’s vibrancy, amenities, and community resources.

From boutiques to local eateries, the POIs in a neighborhood allows us to better understand its unique charm and appeal.

Restaurants as Catalysts:

Restaurants play a vital role in shaping the identity and character of a neighborhood. The arrival or departure of restaurants can signal shifts in the local economy, demographics, and lifestyle preferences. Upscale restaurants opening in an area may indicate rising affluence, attracting a wealthier customer base and potentially leading to further gentrification. Conversely, the closure of long-standing local eateries might signify an economic downturn or changing culinary trends.

Gentrification and Upscale Dining:

The emergence of upscale or trendy dining establishments can signify gentrification and rising property values within a neighborhood. When high-end restaurants, craft breweries, or artisanal coffee shops start to appear. It often accompanies the influx of affluent residents, increased investment, and the revitalization of the local economy. These establishments cater to a more discerning clientele and contribute to the transformation of the neighborhood’s character.

Residential Properties:

Changes in housing stock, such as the construction of new residential buildings, renovations, or shifts in housing types (e.g., single-family homes to multi-unit dwellings), can indicate shifts in the neighborhood’s demographics and housing market.

Commercial Establishments:

The presence or changes in commercial establishments, including shops, restaurants, and entertainment venues, reflect process of changes in the neighborhood’s economic activity, consumer demand, and local business landscape.

Educational Institutions:

The establishment, closure, or changes in schools, colleges, and educational programs can indicate changes in the neighborhood’s educational offerings, attractiveness to families, and investment in educational resources.

Public Spaces and Amenities:

The creation or renovation of parks, playgrounds, community centers, libraries, and other public amenities often signals efforts to improve the neighborhood’s livability, recreational opportunities, and social cohesion.

Transportation Infrastructure:

The presence or upgrades to transportation hubs, public transit access, bike lanes, or pedestrian-friendly infrastructure can signify efforts to enhance connectivity, accessibility, and transportation options within the neighborhood.

Indicators of Neighborhood Change:

  1. Demographic Shifts: Changes in population composition, such as alterations in age groups, racial and ethnic diversity, and income levels, can provide insights into the evolving social fabric and socioeconomic dynamics of a neighborhood.
  2. Economic Indicators: Economic indicators, including median household income, employment rates, business growth or closure rates, and average property values, can help gauge changes in the neighborhood’s economic vitality and prosperity.
  3. Crime Rates: Tracking crime rates and crime patterns can provide an understanding of neighborhood safety. Also, the perceptions of security, and the effectiveness of community policing efforts.
  4. Health and Well-being: Indicators related to health, such as access to healthcare facilities, rates of chronic diseases, and overall well-being measures, can provide insights into the neighborhood’s healthcare services and residents’ quality of life.

How machine learning can help in predicting neighborhood change

Machine learning techniques have emerged as powerful tools for predicting and understanding neighborhood change patterns. By leveraging large datasets and advanced algorithms, machine learning can uncover hidden patterns. Also, provide valuable insights into future shifts within a neighborhood. Here are some ways in which machine learning can aid in predicting neighborhood change:

  1. Analyzing Historical Data: Machine learning algorithms can analyze extensive historical data on various indicators. It includes demographics, housing prices, crime rates, and economic factors. By learning from past patterns and trends, these algorithms can make predictions about future changes within a neighborhood. For example, they can identify areas prone to gentrification based on patterns observed in other neighborhoods with similar characteristics.
  2. Incorporating Multiple Data Sources: Machine learning can integrate and analyze diverse data sources. For example structured data (census data, surveys) and unstructured data (social media posts, online reviews). By combining information from various sources. Machine learning models can capture both quantitative and qualitative aspects that contribute to neighborhood change.
  3. Spatial Analysis: Spatial analytics data like satellite imagery and geospatial information, can be processed using ML algorithms. It can be used identify physical changes in a neighborhood over time. These algorithms can detect new construction, changes in land use, and urban development patterns. It provides insights into the evolving built environment and its impact on the neighborhood.
  1. Model Validation and Improvement: Machine learning models can be continuously trained and validated using updated data to improve their predictive accuracy. By iteratively refining the models, they can adapt to changing neighborhood dynamics and provide more reliable predictions over time.

It’s important to note that while machine learning can provide valuable insights into neighborhood change. But, it should be used in conjunction with human expertise and domain knowledge. The interpretability of machine learning models can also be crucial to understand the underlying factors. For instance driving the predictions and ensuring fairness and transparency in decision-making processes. 


Location data and intelligence play a pivotal role in understanding and predicting neighborhood change. It provides a rich source of information about the physical environment, infrastructure, amenities, and social interactions within a neighborhood. It allows us to capture the nuances of a place. Additonally understand the interplay between different factors, and identify patterns of change over time. 

This data enables us to track demographic shifts, monitor economic indicators, assess the impact of development projects. Moreover, gauge the overall well-being of residents. 

For more details on how POIs indicators and location intelligence work, please get in touch with us at, or visit our website

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