Emily Badger is a former staff writer at CityLab. Her work has previously appeared in Pacific Standard, GOOD, The Christian Science Monitor, and The New York Times. She lives in the Washington, D.C. area.
So you think you know your city?
A true local always knows the invented names of places in town, the neighborhood monikers that seldom appear on formal maps like street names do. These people know Phoenix Hill from Wilder Park (in Louisville), or Franklin Heights from Sherman Park (in Milwaukee), or Congress Park from Capitol Hall (in Denver).
Want to look like a real newbie? Try confusing Humboldt Park with Logan Square at any bar in Chicago. If you don’t know your neighborhoods, you don’t know your city (although much disagreement inevitably ensues on the finer points of fluid neighborhood boundaries).
Hopefully by this point in our story you are silently bragging to yourself that you know every little pocket neighborhood in Portland. Because now we’ve found the perfect way to make you prove it.
Click that ‘hood is a web app from Code for America (we can’t help ourselves with their playful takes on urban planning). The site is a game – or a test, depending on your perspective – that challenges you to identify 20 or more neighborhoods on a map as quickly as possible against a running clock. The project, built with neighborhood boundary data from Zillow and other local sources, began in Louisville but has since expanded to 15 other cities.
Can you place the Hills of Park North on this map of San Antonio (which has 236 distinct neighborhoods!)?
Let the testing begin... as well as, we assume, the quarreling over whether these neighborhood distinctions are right in the first place.