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New Index Gauges 'Charm' of Every Atlanta Neighborhood

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Anyone who's lived in Atlanta long enough has become familiar with the quirks and perks unique to their neighborhood and could probably make a case for it being the city's most charming. But now, the apartment search site RentLingo has launched a tool that uses Big Data to prove how wrong — or right — Atlanta's neighborhood homers are. They call it the "Charm Index." It's meant to help Atlantans and newcomers quickly discern which parts of each neighborhood are the best and worst places to live, and its creators have no qualms admitting that it's biased. That means points are given for local restaurants versus fast-food franchises, bike trails versus payday loan stores and bail bondsmen, gyms versus jails, parks versus strip clubs, quietude versus crime, and so forth. Says one official: "The Charm Index is the first of its kind in creating a comprehensive livability score and is also unique in its location granularity."

The company created a "Charm Score" for each subsection of every ATL neighborhood after compiling data on nearby businesses, crime and local lifestyle factors. As such, the presence of certain non-charming elements — like The Cheetah, for instance — really dragged down scores for some places that are generally considered desirable, such as Spring Street south of 10th Street in Midtown.

Another low-charm sore spot that consumes several blocks is downtown around the Garnett MARTA Station, which happens to be near the Atlanta jail, various bail bonds businesses and world-famous Magic City, for what that's worth.

On the flipside, some of the city's most throbbing, deep-green pockets of charm are anchored by Krog Street Market and Little Five Points, according to the index. The presence of boutique retailers versus sucky corporate chains helped boost scores in those areas, for sure.

Recently paroled Atlantans who love making it rain while munching Whoppers are probably outraged right now.

· Charm Index, Atlanta [RentLingo]
· Renters' Guide to Atlanta's Priciest, Cheapest Zip Codes [Curbed]