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  • Task force taps into Twitter to find best neighborhoods for after-hours entertainment

    Boston Magazine - 05/14/2014

    Members of a special task force charged with figuring out which neighborhoods would best serve Boston residents and visitors by allowing later service hours at restaurants, bars, and even gyms have been scouring Twitter and using heat maps to collect data for their project.

    “We have been having discussions about demands, and looking at different heat survey maps that show where people are at 2 a.m.,” said Meg Mainzer-Cohen, president and executive director of the Back Bay Association.

    Mainzer-Cohen was one of 24 people hand-picked by Mayor Marty Walsh to be part of the Late-Night Task Force that was announced in March.

    She said the group, which has met twice, has been relying on presentations by Harvard Kennedy School students that use social media posts like tweets to show them where the most popular spots are after-hours. Student from the Kennedy School, who have analyzed how other cities have approached expanded late night activities, surveyed young people, mapped liquor license and crime statistics, looked at where Boston’s street lights are and where young adults live to help further the conversation, according to Walsh’s office.