Representing the city as it’s lived: livelihoods

It’s been few days that I’m following the the and it’s quite interesting.

The project is defined as follows:

Livehoods offer a new way to conceptualize the dynamics, structure, and character of a city by analyzing the social media its residents generate. By looking at people’s checkin patterns at places across the city, we create a mapping of the different dynamic areas that comprise it. Each Livehood tells a different story of the people and places that shape it.
The hypothesis underlying our work is that the character of an urban area is defined not just by the the types of places found there, but also by the people who make the area part of their daily routine. To explore this hypothesis, given data from over 18 million foursquarecheck-ins, we introduce a model that groups nearby venues into areas based on patterns in the set of people who check-in to them. By examining patterns in these check-ins, we can learn about the different areas that comprise the city, allowing us to study the social dynamics, structure, and character of cities on a large scale.

Why do I blog this? Working on a similar topic, I quite enjoy this kind of research work. The idea that social media data can be employed to understand areas as lived by people is fascinating and highly intriguing to test. It’s somehow what one can call a “social map” and we now have more and more data to see how it would look like.