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. Equity

    What's the Matter With San Francisco?

    The city’s devastating affordability crisis has an unlikely villain—its famed progressive politics.

  2. Life

    How Australia Conquered Guns, and Why America Can't

    Gun control advocates point to Australia for inspiration in ending gun violence. The Australian Ambassador to the United States, Joe Hockey, thinks they should stop.

  3. Equity

    The Wakanda Reader

    Everything you wanted to know about Wakanda and urbanism, but were afraid to ask.

  4. World map showing the 400-plus large cities that sit in biodiversity hotspots
    Environment

    Mapping the 'Conflict Zones' Between Sprawl and Biodiversity

    If cities keep growing as they do now, nearly 400 of them will sprawl into the habitats of endangered species by 2030.

  5. A child plays in Santiago, Chile.
    Design

    How to Design Cities for Children

    A billion kids are now growing up in urban areas. But not all cities are planned with their needs in mind.