What does competitive edge look like?

The MIT Competitive Edge Landscape Tool allows you to visualize the factors that help make Boston competitive in the global marketplace.

Use the Tool to learn about a specific place, or combine different factors to answer questions about the region as a whole.

Is there a link between culture, quality of life, and innovation? Where is job growth is occuring? Is there a place where income is high and housing cost is low? How does Boston compare to the national average and what can we do to improve it?

Click on the thumbnail to the right to activate the tool and begin to explore Boston's Competitive Landscape!


Launch the Competitive Edge Landscape

Click here to activate the Competitive Edge Landscape tool

How it works

Boston is above average in many ways. Housing cost, for example, is much higher than the American average. Job growth, on the other hand, is lower. The Tool helps you visualize this.


Slider bars let you explore the highs and lows of each variable. Dragging the slider bar for "housing cost" to the right, for example, will highlight all the areas with higher than average housing costs. Drag it to the left and all the low cost areas will become highlighted. In this case, "high" does mean "better"!

The same is true for "recent job growth". Drag it to the right and you'll see the areas above the national average. Drag it to the left and see all the areas with lower than the average growth.


If you turn several variables on at the same time, you can compare and contrast them with each other. Turning several on will also average them together to give you a sense of comparison with the rest of the country.

In most cases the Boston area has high peaks and valleys. The more variables you turn on, however, the more they will average together and the map will look flat.

Place search

You can also find out more about any town or zip code in the area by using the "Zip / Town Search" bar on the lower right. This will pop up a window with detailed information about that place, as well as a flag highlighting where it is on the map.


Future directions

The Tool is an MIT research project that helps people understand the factors influencing the competitiveness of their city and region.

Ultimately, we hope the tool will evolve into a more practical application that can help people make more informed decisions about their lives. Towards this end, we welcome comments and feedback on how to make it more useful and effective.

Please send all comments, questions and ideas to Noah Raford at nraford at mit dot edu.






Credits and Thanks



Principle investigator
Tom Piper
Research director
Noah Raford



Design and programming
Elise Co
Nik Pashenkov



Spatial analysis
Sonya Huang
Web integration
Amon Horne




Data provision and consultation
Michael Tavilla, Massachusetts Technology Collaborative

Bert Sperling, Sperling's Best Places.net


Additional support and inspiration
Prof. Joe Ferreria, MIT DUSP
Prof. Mike Flaxman, MIT DUSP
Senseable City Lab, MIT
David Begelfer, NAOIP