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Using social media data in understanding public space usage

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Session Information

Social media lends environment design researchers a huge set of efficient, and ever-growing data to better understand public opinion and public space usage. Compared to conventional research methods such as survey and on-site observations, the social-media data-based method not only contains a large amount of records and participants included in the analysis, but it is also a financially economic and less time-consuming method to use in understanding the usage and perception of public open spaces. This researcher is among the built environment researchers who first used social media datasets to examine information about well-posted public spaces. A systematic social media textural and imagery analytic framework was developed by the researcher, which shows a comprehensive space usage pattern in terms. This framework not only provides a comprehensive post occupancy evaluation method, but also aids in understanding the casual mechanisms of public space usage. The method was utilized by this researcher in evaluating many case studies (e.g., in Seattle, NYC, Fort Worth, Beijing, etc.) using various social media datasets (e.g., Instagram, TripAdvisor, Tweeter, etc.). This presentation will summarily present this findings.



Bo Zhang








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