In an interesting development from the world of Google Maps, a study is quantifying the attributes of streets to determine whether they “feel” safe. As part of any economic development strategy, the quality of life in a city or region is paramount. Without livable city centers, good schools, and an appealing entertainment/cultural scene, it becomes very difficult to lure larger employers who are in turn trying to lure top talent. This perception problem has always been tricky to quantify and, therefore, hard to recommend targeted improvements. Well, a new algorithm being utilized in the referenced PLOS ONE study shows an emerging science behind how people perceive safety and, therefore, comfort in cities. The ramifications are intriguing since this could help budgetarily constrained cities target improvements with surgical precision to maximize impact.
Photo courtesy of PLOSONE.org