Tanvi Misra is a staff writer for CityLab covering immigrant communities, housing, economic inequality, and culture. She also authors Navigator, a weekly newsletter for urban explorers (subscribe here). Her work also appears in The Atlantic, NPR, and BBC.
Trulia tracks five years of noise complaints in the three big cities.
There was a time when I couldn’t fall asleep without the sweet, soothing sound of honking cars and belting sirens. Crickets, meanwhile, would keep me awake all night. City noise, of course, isn’t a lullaby—it’s a nuisance and a health hazard. Having lived in quieter neighborhoods over the last couple of years, I’ve come to realize this.
Finding these muted enclaves just got a little easier with some pulsating new maps created by real estate website Trulia. The maps pinpoint the loudest neighborhoods in New York city, Seattle, and San Francisco, using noise complaint data from 2010 to 2015 in each city. Here’s Trulia on its mapping approach in a blog post:
We took it upon ourselves to think about another way to look at noise: how many people are actually complaining about it and where are they located? Now, this approach admittedly has its flaws: there could be serial noise complainers, the data could be skewed by population, or there could be reporting biases. Regardless, if there were enough data, wouldn’t it be cool to see what it looked like?
It does look pretty cool.
In Seattle (below,top), noise complaints are mostly concentrated in the busy, nightlife- and youth-heavy areas of University District and Capitol Hill. In San Francisco (below, bottom), the Mission District, SOMA, and the financial district are some of the noisier neighborhoods:
From the two maps above, it’s clear that there’s an added benefit of quieter neighborhoods: a lower concentration of rowdy youths.