Saturday, January 13, 2024

Kreuzberg, San Francisco

I once spent a memorable winter night in a night-club in the trendy Berlin neighborhood of Kreuzberg. My friends and I emerged from the club at 3 or 4 in the morning to find that during the dark hours of the night a snow storm had turned Berlin into a magical winter wonderland. Every vacation I've been on since that night I have unsuccessfully been seeking to recreate the excitement, wonder and serendipitous joy I experienced on that lost weekend in Berlin.

Now at long last a new interactive map has been released that can help me find the 'Kreuzberg' neighborhoods in other cities around the world. From-To promises to 'make new places familiar'. It does this by comparing neighborhoods in the city you wish to travel to with a city you know well. For example if you are traveling to New York from London then From-To informs you that Camden is like the East Village, Canary Wharf is like the Financial District and Mayfair is like the Upper East Side.

If you are traveling to an unfamiliar city then From-To does seem like a great way to give you at least some sense of the 'lay of the land' before you arrive. If you are intrigued by a city neighborhood compared on the Form-To map you can click through to read a more detailed description, with a list of free and paid activities that are possible to undertake during a visit. From-To also includes a handy trip-planning tool. While exploring a city you can add whole neighborhoods or individual activities to your trip-planner. When finished From-To will even e-mail you your completed trip itinerary. 

Another handy way of gaining some insight into unfamiliar city neighborhoods is through Hoodmaps. Hoodmaps can help you discover what local people think about their neighborhoods through a crowd-sourced map - which has been annotated and labeled by locals.
Hoodmaps has two main ways to show you what the locals think about different parts of a city. One way is by coloring the map according to its dominant characteristics. Different colors are used to paint neighborhoods as being either Offices, Rich, Tourists, Hip, Uni or Normies. The color that you see is the dominant color from all the user inputs. Users can also provide more individual assessments of specific locations by adding a custom label to the map. For example, in New York users have tagged neighborhoods with labels such as 'hipsters with rich parents', 'students in pain' and 'no longer gay'.

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