A Block-By-Block Apartment Pitfall Guide map of the city, telling you what to be aware of when you go to rent an apartment. You can examine the apartment in detail. But there are certain "intangibles" about the location that you might not be aware of until it's too late. Once you sign a 1-year lease, you can't run away from these things.
For example, maybe it turns out that there's a post office on the next block that gets deliveries every night at 2 am. Or maybe you didn't realize there's a school nearby and you are listening to noisy kids day and night. Did you realize that for some reason, this particular block always smells of garbage in the morning? Warning! There's an all-night sports bar below! There will be great noise.
The guide lists every single block in the city and tells you how the block rates as to noise, safety, odour, beeping truck frequency, ambulance frequency, car alarm count (car alarms per hour), parking situation, traffic level (traffic jams with honking are something it is hard to predict), etc. This will also alert you to particularly noisy clubs / pubs which can decrease the quality of a home.Updated quarterly online or available at local bookstore !
Something similar to this Neighbourhood Profile http://www.upmystreet.com/ Provides crime figures, property prices and discussion boards for other information. This may be a good start.