What Foursquare can teach us about how people use a city.

What can Foursquare tell us about the modern neighborhood? That's the question being asked by Livehoods, a new project from the School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University. The project maps 18 million check-ins to determine what places get visited by the same people. As the creators explain on the site, "if many of the same people check-in to two nearby locations, then these locations will likely be part of the same Livehood."

The site's founders explain their thinking behind the program:

Like neighborhoods, Livehoods are a representation of the organizational structure of the city. However, Livehoods are different from neighborhoods. They give us an on-the-ground view of a city's structure, helping us reconceptualize the dynamics of a city based on the way people actually use it.

With Livehoods, we can investigate and explore the factors that come together to shape the social dynamics of a city, including municipal borders, demographics, economic development, resources, geography, and architecture. We think Livehoods are useful for city governments, local organizations, businesses, and anyone looking to learn more about a city.

So far, they've mapped New York, San Francisco and Pittsburgh (the map you see above) and they are working on other maps.

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. A detail from a 1942 British Mandate map of Haifa, now a city in Israel.
    Maps

    Mapping Palestine Before Israel

    A new open-source project uses British historical maps to reveal what Palestine looked like before 1948.

  2. Equity

    What Is Loitering, Really?

    America’s laws against lingering have roots in Medieval and Elizabethan England. Since 1342, the goal has always been to keep anyone “out of place” away.

  3. Life

    The Top Cities Americans Move to—and From—For Work

    Most of the top cities are the usual suspects, but there’s something odd happening in Silicon Valley.

  4. Employees sell currywurst in Berlin
    Equity

    Minimum Wages Do More Than Boost Workers' Income

    A German report suggests sustainable success more than two years after a wage law took effect.

  5. A train arrives at Paris' Arts et Metiers metro Station.
    Transportation

    Paris Gets Serious About Free Transit

    The city is launching a study to explore the possibility of going fully fare-free.