Localize.city’s Steven Kalifowitz: Making Sense of the New Hyperlocal Pyramid

Localize President Steven Kalifowitz

There is a new pyramid for hyperlocal, and it goes like this: data at the foundation, information in the middle and knowledge at the top. So says Localize.city President Steven Kalifowitz.

We first profiled the company a couple of weeks ago. In a wide-ranging discussion today, Kalifowitz told us that Localize.city got its start as Madlan in Israel six years ago, but is now prototyped for New York and will expand to other cities.

According to Kalifowitz, Localize.city has been designed to provide the same level of information and insights for buying or renting an apartment as shoppers have for other major purchases, like cars or computers. Theoretically, the same template could also be used – with some customization – for commercial real estate and other verticals.

For now, the site is completely focused on residential real estate and the “tens of thousands” of sources that impact it – building permits, transit schedules etc. “We help people know what they’re getting into before choosing their next home,” says Kalifowitz, a veteran of Twitter and the R/GA digital agency.

A lot of the site’s challenge is to make sense of all the data sources that impact real estate, says Kelifowitz, who estimates that 85 percent of Lozalize.city’s content is generated by their proprietary algorithm. The algorithms are developed collaboratively by a team of urban planners and data scientists. But just as Everyblock did several years ago, the site also believes in using data journalists. It uniquely employs Amy Zimmer, a veteran real estate reporter who had previously worked with DNAInfo, a hyperlocal site.

The use of knowledgeable reporters is a good smell test for the data that the site pulls in – some things don’t always make sense, or require further investigation, says Kalifowitz. The site may incorporate social media comments in the future. While Localize.city is currently focused on providing specific analysis for addresses, it will soon add articles about urban trends that it uncovers.