We created Small Change to allow everyday people to invest in real estate projects that change cities and neighborhoods for the better, and we created our proprietary Change Index to track that change. Small Change makes big impacts.
By bringing investors together through the power of its crowdfunding platform, Small Change makes real estate a reality, signaling significant changes in the neighborhoods and communities in which its developments come to life.
How does one measure this change? What metrics can investors and community members use to keep score on the viability of Small Change projects?
Say hello to The Change Index.
The Change Index is Small Change’s proprietary system that illustrates the impact its projects have on its surroundings. The Change Index uses data points such as an area’s walk – and bike-ability, public transit access, proximity to green space, availability of commercial and cultural amenities and other measures of quality of life to gauge the possibilities of a project.
Assessing your Change Index.
The majority of our metrics apply to both commercial and residential real estate projects. A few only apply to one or the other. C denotes a commercial metric and R denotes a residential one.
Walkscore over 70 : The Walkscore is a composite number that indicates the pedestrian friendliness of the project and its proximity to important amenities. The higher the Walkscore, the less someone needs to rely on a car, therefore reducing personal costs and environmental impact. A score of 70 and over is considered “very walkable.” All scores are sourced via walkscore.com. All scores are sourced via walkscore.com, whose mission is to promote walkable neighborhoods. (C + R)
Bikescore over 70 : The Bikescore is a composite number that indicates the ease of using a bicycle as a mode of transportation to and from the project. Bikescore takes into account both the friendliness of the surrounding topography and the biking culture of the area. The higher the score, the more bike friendly the area will be. A score of 70 and over is considered “very bikeable.” All scores are sourced via walkscore.com. (C + R)
Dedicated bike lane within ¼ mile : Dedicated bike lanes provide an additional level of safety for those who use bicycling as their means of transportation. A study of adults living in Seattle found that those living within a half-mile of a dedicated bike lane were 20% more likely to ride their bike. (C + R)
Transit score over 50 : Transit is a critical component of a healthy city. Better transit means less congestion, increased mobility and unlocked economic potential. The Transit Score indicates public transportation options close to the project. The higher the score, the better the options and frequency of public transit nearby. All scores are sourced via walkscore.com. (C + R)
Commercial/business corridor within 1 mile: Local businesses keep money circulating within a community and reduce the distance that people need to travel to obtain goods and services. An attendant effect of a high concentration of neighborhood businesses means that alternate methods of transportation such as walking, biking and public transit are more likely to be utilized. (R)
Bike racks for occupants: Providing bike racks for building occupants increases the likelihood that individuals will choose biking as their mode of transportation.(C)
Mobility Services : Mobility services provide users with the choice of a variety of alternative transportation modes, minimizing the need – and eliminating the cost – of owning a vehicle. In turn, the increased individual savings allows people to use their money for other services, products, or savings, acting as an immediate economic stimulus. Mobility services can include car-sharing companies like Zipcar, ride-share companies like Lyft or Uber, bikeshare systems, college vans, or senior and accessible transit. (C + R)
Transit-oriented Development : Transit-oriented development (TOD) is a type of mixed-use community development integrated into a walkable neighborhood and located within a half-mile of public transportation. The TOD Institute uses 8 criteria to define TOD with a minimum of 5 of the 8 criteria to be met for certification. Close proximity to rail station, well-defined outdoor spaces, mix of uses with lively vibrant places, pedestrian scale, active ground floor retail, sidewalk cafes, tree lined streets and reduced and hidden parking. (C + R)
Adaptive reuse / brownfield site : A brownfield site is defined as industrial or commercial property that is abandoned or underused and is often environmentally contaminated. The ability to reuse something that already exists, whether it is a building or land, is a fundamental element of sustainability. This not only reduces our environmental footprint, it also allows for the revitalization of a building or site. (C + R)
Green building practices : The implementation of green and sustainable building practices ranges from including energy efficient lights and windows to building with sustainably harvested or local materials to providing rain catchment systems. A check is earned if at least 3 green building features are incorporated into the project. These features should be recognized by the US Green Building Council and may include cool roofs; triple pane windows, recycled water, and more. (C + R)
Minimized site disturbance : Any disturbance of undeveloped land changes the natural balance of the site and leads to soil erosion and water management issues. Preserving existing noninvasive trees, native plants, and pervious surfaces and ensuring that one hundred percent of the development footprint occurs on previously developed land can meet the need to minimize site disturbances. (C + R)
In a principal city: Principal cities meet certain population and employment criteria. Being in a principal city identifies the project as supporting urban growth. Meeting any of the following criteria qualifies a location as a principal city: (C + R)
- The largest incorporated place in a CBSA (Core Based Statistical Area) with a population of at least 10,000, or if no such incorporated place exists, the largest incorporated place or census-designated place in the CBSA. This designates the largest principal city.
- Incorporated or census-designated places that have a population of at least 250,000 in which the number of workers is 100,000 or more
- Places with a population between 50,000 and 250,000 where the number of workers exceeds the number of working residents
- Places with a population between 10,000 and 50,000 where the number of workers i) exceeds the number of working residents and ii) are at least one-third of the population of the largest principal city.
Park or plaza within ½ mile : The close proximity of green space to a project allows for recreation outside the immediate proximity of the project site. This gives individuals a place to be outdoors, which improves mental and physical health and strengthens community ties. (C + R)
Reduced parking footprint : By reducing a project’s parking footprint to less than 20% of the total developable land, environmental harm associated with parking facilities – land consumption and rainwater runoff – is minimized. (C)
In a mixed-use neighborhood : A mixed-use neighborhood is an area that has clusters of diverse land use, making it more likely that residents can find all of their needs within that neighborhood. Mixed-use neighborhoods flush with residential and commercial amenities support walking, biking and use of public transit. (C)
Fresh Food Access within 1 mile : Urban farms and/or farmer’s markets within 1 mile of a project provide access to fresh food. Fresh food means more than being healthful. It means supporting the local economy and minimizing the transportation costs (and environmental effects) associated with shipping out of season foodstuffs to local areas. (R)
At least 10 jobs created (1 per 500 SF) : The creation of jobs helps the local economy. Workers earn money and spend it in the surrounding community. Jobs created can apply both to construction workers who build the project, or to employees who occupy the buildings once the project is complete. (C + R)
More than 10 jobs created : The more jobs that are created in an area, the more people – and money – will be concentrated in that area. This leads to additional development, increasing the economic vitality of the community. We use NAHB criteria as a baseline for establishing the number of jobs created. (C + R)
In an historically underserved community : Underserved communities have higher poverty rates, higher unemployment rates, lower property values, and a higher number of city-owned or abandoned buildings or vacant lots. Choosing to develop these areas is the first step in achieving economic growth for the immediate area and for the city at large, revitalizing fallow land for future growth. (C + R)
Activates the street : Activating the street encourages pedestrian-friendly development and a sense of safety and livability in a community. Creating connections between the inside and outside of buildings – think front porches on homes, or sidewalk cafes for local businesses –accomplish this. (C + R)
Third place within ½ mile : A “third place” is a gathering place that is an extension of people’s homes. It may be a coffee shop, bar, restaurant, bookstore, etc. This is a place where an individual feels comfortable, enjoys meeting others, stays for significant periods of time and visits frequently. (C + R)
Affordable housing : Everyone deserves decent housing. Affordable homeownership can stimulate the local economy by stabilizing and populating a neighborhood with permanent residents. Homeowners take ownership not only of their new house, but of the neighborhood as well, adding personal, community and economic investment in an area. The government says housing is “affordable” if a family spends no more than 30% of their income to live there. We’ve adopted the most frequently used definition, whereby affordable housing means housing for up to 80% to 120% of median income. (R)
Incubator / co-working space : Incubators and co-working spaces foster interactions and the exchange of ideas, and support the growth of startups, driving economic vitality in the area. (C)