Chat with the creators of Boston.com's Dreamtown Finder

  • Catherine Cloutier 4/30/2013 4:57:00 PM
    Hello and welcome to our chat about Boston.com's Dreamtown Finder! We'll be taking your questions about the project for the next hour.
    Comment ()
  • Andrew Tran, BostonGlobe.com 4/30/2013 5:01:17 PM
    Hi, I'm Andrew and I've never been to Lanesborough.
    Comment ()
  • alvin chang 4/30/2013 5:04:15 PM
    Hi, I'm Alvin. Feel free to ask about how we designed the formula — it's far from perfect, and we're working to improve it based on reader feedback.
    Comment ()
  • Catherine Cloutier 4/30/2013 5:05:09 PM
    While we wait for your questions, let's get started by talking about what inspired this project.
    Comment ()
  • matthewscarroll 4/30/2013 5:05:24 PM
    I'm here... finally.
    Comment ()
  • matthewscarroll 4/30/2013 5:06:03 PM
    We were trying to create a tool that helped people pick a nice town to live in, based on a number of variables.
    Comment ()
  • matthewscarroll 4/30/2013 5:06:56 PM
    We looked at schools, crime, green space -- even the number of Starbucks in each community!
    Comment ()
  • anne.steele 4/30/2013 5:07:16 PM
    Hi, I'm Anne, fact-checker extraordinaire. I am not a hipster.
    Comment ()
  • alvin chang 4/30/2013 5:07:49 PM
    It's difficult to get a feel for all of your town choices, so we wanted to create a tool that was metrics-driven to help narrow your choices.
    Comment ()
  • matthewscarroll 4/30/2013 5:08:18 PM
    Anne, our research shows that, au contraire -- you are a hipster...
    Comment ()
  • matthewscarroll 4/30/2013 5:08:34 PM
    and the data doesn't lie.
    Comment ()
  • alvin chang 4/30/2013 5:08:45 PM
    And the hipster quotient — we should do something entirely separate on that. We had some lively debates about how to find towns where hipsters reside. And yes, Anne, you are a hipster. 2-0.
    Comment ()
  • alvin chang 4/30/2013 5:09:18 PM
    How do you guys think we could better gauge the best town for a hipster?
    Comment ()
  • Catherine Cloutier 4/30/2013 5:09:45 PM
    We narrowed our hipster quotient to towns with high numbers of colleges, renters, museums and "hip" stores (Whole Foods, Trader Joes, and Starbucks.) What did we miss?
    Comment ()
  • matthewscarroll 4/30/2013 5:09:57 PM
    Speaking of DreamTown Finder 2.0 -- we're hoping to get suggestions for how to improve this tool. Any ideas out there?
    Comment ()
  • matthewscarroll 4/30/2013 5:10:56 PM
    One way to improve it we were kicking around was to include commute time. I know from interviewing home buyers that commute time is al
    ways a key consideration.
    Comment ()
  • matthewscarroll 4/30/2013 5:12:35 PM
    Thrifts stores is a good idea. My kids love to shop at the Boomerangs down at the end of our street in West Roxbury.
    Comment ()
  • matthewscarroll 4/30/2013 5:13:53 PM
    another possibility to add is farmers' markets. Andrew from Lanesborough, would that work for you? I'm sure there are farmer's markets way way out there...
    Comment ()
  • Catherine Cloutier 4/30/2013 5:13:55 PM
    Ok, all of our watchers out there, did you use the tool? What was your top town? I got Cambridge.
    Comment ()
  • alvin chang 4/30/2013 5:14:27 PM
    One interesting anecdote: I had my boss and a few editors look at the Dreamtown Finder. One person got the town they live in, and a few got the town they wanted to live in, if it weren't for cost.
    Comment ()
  • gabrielflorit 4/30/2013 5:14:56 PM
    I got North Adams.
    Comment ()
  • matthewscarroll 4/30/2013 5:15:12 PM
    best measure of hipster: count number of guys wearing those funky hats with the narrow brims, a la Frank Sinatra 1955.
    Comment ()
  • Andrew Tran, BostonGlobe.com 4/30/2013 5:15:23 PM
    I asked the copy editors to take the test and they all mostly got Berlin, which was surprising to them.
    Comment ()
  • alvin chang 4/30/2013 5:15:44 PM
    So here's a better question: Hipsters want to be cool before they are cool... how can we find the towns that are about to be cool? (Would that break a hipster's brain? Anne?)
    Comment ()
  • matthewscarroll 4/30/2013 5:15:47 PM
    I got Lanesborough and I'm moving.
    Comment ()
  • klandergan 4/30/2013 5:15:56 PM
    I got Cambridge, which is the place I would love to live the most. So it definitely works!
    Comment ()
  • matthewscarroll 4/30/2013 5:18:03 PM
    I'd like to move or Cambridge or Somerville, myself. Alls I need to do is hit the Lottery...
    Comment ()
  • alvin chang 4/30/2013 5:18:49 PM
    I got Cambridge as well... and I live in Cambridge. But then again, I built the back end for this, so maybe I was subconsciously coding for positive feedback.
    Comment ()
  • Catherine Cloutier 4/30/2013 5:18:58 PM
    If you're just logging on now and haven't taken the Dreamtown Finder test, here's the link: www.boston.com
    Comment ()
  • alvin chang 4/30/2013 5:19:59 PM
    So when you guys look for places, how much do you consider whether there will be people like you?
    Comment ()
  • Catherine Cloutier 4/30/2013 5:20:41 PM
    Here's a weird fact from our research: Somerville, whose Davis Square seems to be a bastion of hipsterdom, didn't even make our top 10 hipster places.
    Comment ()
  • matthewscarroll 4/30/2013 5:21:15 PM
    Loyal followers, pls RT. We have so much to share in this chat...
    Comment ()
  • Andrew Tran, BostonGlobe.com 4/30/2013 5:21:27 PM

    Found in the Boston Globe archives

    Comment ()
  • matthewscarroll 4/30/2013 5:22:34 PM
    well, Andrew from Lanesboro, I am sure there are some Worcesterites out there who would love to defend their fair city. Worcesterites? Hello??
    Comment ()
  • matthewscarroll 4/30/2013 5:24:00 PM
    Ques: when people are looking at schools when they are considering moving, what helps influence yr decision? General reputatuion? MCAS scores? SATs? Diversity?
    Comment ()
  • Holly Butcher 4/30/2013 5:24:36 PM
    Interesting app! I got Lanesborough, a place I have never actually heard of or been to. As someone fairly new to the Boston area (and East Coast), this gives me a new place to explore based on my answers. However, I don't think I would want to move to Western Mass because of my job and preference for the city lifestyle.
    Comment ()
  • alvin chang 4/30/2013 5:26:22 PM
    Monroe's average home price is $95,000. Tom Brady makes enough to buy an average home there after throwing 8 passes... don't even need to be completed passes. www.boston.com
    Comment ()
  • matthewscarroll 4/30/2013 5:27:12 PM
    That's interesting, Holly. I would point out that you can pick some different geo settings -- South, North, West of Boston. That definitely helps limit yr search and prevents Lanesboro from popping up. Not that I have anything against Lanesboro or Lanesborians.,
    Comment ()
  • Catherine Cloutier 4/30/2013 5:27:57 PM
    In addition to hipster, we also looked at "fun," namely how many bars, restaurants and movie theaters are in a town. What's your guess for the most fun town in Mass.? Hint: you can cheat by looking here: www.boston.com
    Comment ()
  • matthewscarroll 4/30/2013 5:29:26 PM
    Catherine I guessed wrong on most "fun" city -- and I helped create the darn thing... I picked Somerville. (hint: that's wrong answer.)
    Comment ()
  • Andrew Tran, BostonGlobe.com 4/30/2013 5:30:15 PM
    From Wikipedia: Lanesborough was first settled in 1753 and was officially incorporated in 1765. It was renamed Lanesborough, for the Countess of Lanesborough, a friend of Governor Francis Bernard, who incorporated the town.
    Comment ()
  • alvin chang 4/30/2013 5:31:20 PM
    So here's a question I have for you guys: What kind of sacrifices did you make to live in your current apartment/house? I ask this as someone who has lived in six different places in six years.
    Comment ()
  • matthewscarroll 4/30/2013 5:37:40 PM
    re DreamTown: on a serious note for a sec, this is the 1st of what we hope will be a string of data-related projects, ranging from the totally serious to more fun. if people have ideas about what they would like to see researched, pls feel free to tell us.
    Comment ()
  • Catherine Cloutier 4/30/2013 5:40:55 PM
    People out there, how about answering us this: Were you pleased with the town you got?
    Comment ()
  • alvin chang 4/30/2013 5:41:04 PM
    OK, so we have the "hipster" ranking. What other things could we ask for? Coffee quality? Air quality? "Niceness" of townspeople?
    Comment ()
  • matthewscarroll 4/30/2013 5:48:05 PM
    We may be losing Alvin. Might have to speak to a group.
    Comment ()
  • Catherine Cloutier 4/30/2013 5:49:33 PM
    Also, our resident from Lanesborough is gone. So, you've just got Matt and me.
    Comment ()
  • Catherine Cloutier 4/30/2013 5:50:07 PM
    Any questions about the project? Ideas for future projects? Unrelated rants? Now's your time.
    Comment ()
  • matthewscarroll 4/30/2013 5:51:36 PM
    I'd love to do a project that looks at which coffee co. people prefer. And I'm not going to say any more...
    Comment ()
  • matthewscarroll 4/30/2013 5:52:47 PM
    There's so many projects the Globe could do -- and now's yr chance to talk to the people who do those projects. What ideas do people have? What should we be writing about?
    Comment ()
  • Catherine Cloutier 4/30/2013 5:53:17 PM
    I'm listing the top 25 towns in Mass. across all of our Dreamtown Finder metrics. What do you think number one is?
    Comment ()
  • matthewscarroll 4/30/2013 5:57:47 PM
    Thanks for everyone who participated. We got so many interesting ideas & have so much to think about for V2. Thanks again!
    Comment ()
  • Catherine Cloutier 4/30/2013 5:58:39 PM
    Thanks, all. If you want to comment on the project outside of this chat, you can do so here: www.boston.com
    Comment ()
Powered by ScribbleLive