We have mentioned the work of Cesar Hidalgo (twitter) in this blog a few times already but he keeps coming up with new interesting research . As many will know, Hidalgo and his team have a project called Place Pulse, in which they use computer vision techniques to analyze snapshots of google street view and crowdsource people's perception city’s physical appearance. Here are my three highlight of the project so far.
- In its initial phase, the project focused on 19 American cities. Some of the research findings show how perceived safety of streetscapes has strong positive correlation with household income, population density and income inequality (PDF of the paper).
- In a more recent paper, led by Marco De Nadai (twitter), the authors combine Place Pulse with mobile phone data to show how the safety scores of neighbourhoods in Rome and Milan are also strongly correlated with urban liveliness, and that visual features like greenery and street facing windows contribute to a positive appearance of safety. This is an extension of Nadai's previous work, where he engages more directly with Jane Jacobs's ideas on urban vitality.
- Finally, the Place Pulse project has been recently updated and expanded to create the first global dataset of urban appearance "...containing 110,988 images from 56 cities, and 1,170,000 pairwise comparisons provided by 81,630 online volunteers along six perceptual attributes: safe, lively, boring, wealthy, depressing, and beautiful".