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August 17, 2005


Tom Steinberg

I'm sorry, but this report (or the summary made available) really is quite astonishingly a-historical. 20 years ago most of this data was availble to anyone with the means to pay researchers (like property developers). Now it is available to that 60-70% of people with internet access at home. In another 5-10 years it'll be available to basically everyone.

We know that the wealthiest people tend to be the busiest, and so they are in a worse position to exploit detailed online data which takes lots of time to consume and compare - that's why they buy things at a premium from shiny Sony stores rather than hanging around all day on eBay bidding for bargains at the last minute.

Furthermore, the existence of well known local information sites may be one of the few effective ways of connecting local people with each other - did Professor Burrows factor the harm caused by UpMyStreet against the connections made through it's Conversations site?

Geographic self-segregation has been happening with awesome efficiency for the last 50 years, and the JRF could surely have spent money more effectively on this problem than on a seemingly evidence-free piece of research which concludes only that something bad 'could' happen.

Jon Worth

I agree with the analysis of this post - in as far as it goes. But I wonder whether we are barking up the wrong tree here...

The reason why websites like Nethouseprices and Upmystreet are so popular is that in the UK's urban areas there is a real need for them due to large disparities in crime, quality of schools, quality and cost of housing etc.

The real way to deal with these problems is for the government to make a real effort to tackle Britain's problems of lousy housing and social inequality. We should direct our efforts at that, rather than at sites providing information.

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