Who Names Neighborhoods in the Internet Age?

Person using Google Maps.Neighborhood names are a touchy topic, especially with developers, real estate agents, and long-time residents of a community. While you might think the name of a neighborhood is controlled by the people who live, work, and play there, the digital age is changing all of that.

recent article in the New York Times highlights how mapping services like Google Maps can rebrand nei ghborhoods simply through search dominance. According to the piece, “Google Maps has now become the primary arbiter of place names. With decisions made by a few Google cartographers, the identity of a city, town or neighborhood can be reshaped, illustrating the outsize influence that Silicon Valley increasingly has in the real world.”

What happens when they get a name wrong? Who makes these decisions? How does Google’s footprint influence travel, tourism, and local business identity?

While this piece is lengthy, we think it’s worth checking out. And if you haven’t looked at neighborhood names in your own market, now might be a good time to see if anything’s getting rebranded by the Big G:


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