His crime was to create a gripping visualization of trends in the insane Toronto housing market, showing at a glance how unsustainable and fraught with risk housing has become. He published it. Over thirteen thousand people came to read it. The lawyers moved in.
This begs a question: what are the realtors afraid of? The answer, it seems: educated consumers.
He advises TREB not to be afraid of their data and was impressed by what Arefeen did with his visualization. The 26-year-old will be the Bookclub's featured speaker at its meetup on Oct. 19.
The 26-year-old financial data analyst saw that the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) had made aggregated data publicly available — but he wanted to develop his own insights. Using information released by TREB in early July, he published a visualization of trends in Toronto's housing market.
Readers loved it. His website, which does not have ads, got 13,000 visitors in the first month the visualization was available.
“In 1990, we had a horrible death in the subway where a blind woman fell in front of a train,” said Susan Reed Tanaka, Manager of Engineering with the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC).
One team – consisting of students Paul Deng, Tristan Laidlow, Cody Tian and Shafquat Arefeen – designed a tactile map they hoped to install at key locations throughout subway stations. The map uses raised symbols marking the locations of doors, stairs and other obstacles on a simplified layout of the subway station to help the visually impaired build a mental image of their surroundings. For these students, a surprise came when Tanaka expressed her interest in their design.
The problem: The TTC uses stop announcements for passengers and textured tiles to guide visually impaired riders between the stairs, escalators and elevators but there’s no way for those riders to get a sense of the overall station layout.
The solution: Audible textured maps using Braille and relief features that show the station’s layout. The maps would be posted at all entrances, stairs and elevators with a low beep or buzz guiding the rider to the map’s location.