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 man rides an electric scooter in Los Angeles.
    Perspective

    Why Do City Dwellers Love to Hate Scooters?

    Electric scooters draw a lot of hate, but if supported well by cities, they have the potential to provide a widespread and beneficial mode of transportation.

  2. Life

    How Democrats Conquered the City

    The 150-year history of how a once-rural party became synonymous with density.

  3. A mural of Woody Guthrie in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
    Life

    Don't Move People Out of Distressed Places. Instead, Revitalize Them

    A new study shows that place-based policies are key to helping people in distressed cities, where investments should be tailored to local economic conditions.

  4. a map comparing the sizes of several cities
    Maps

    The Commuting Principle That Shaped Urban History

    From ancient Rome to modern Atlanta, the shape of cities has been defined by the technologies that allow commuters to get to work in about 30 minutes.

  5. People walk along a new elevated park that winds through a historic urban area.
    Equity

    How to Build a New Park So Its Neighbors Benefit

    A new report from UCLA and the University of Utah surveys strategies for “greening without gentrification.”

×