Understanding the use of urban green spaces from user-generated geographic information

Vuokko Heikinheimo, Henrikki Tenkanen, Claudia Bergroth, Olle Järv, Tuomo Hiippala, Tuuli Toivonen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Parks and other green spaces are an important part of sustainable, healthy and socially equal urban environment. Urban planning and green space management benefit from information about green space use and values, but such data are often scarce and laborious to collect. Temporally dynamic geographic information generated by different mobile devices and social media platforms are a promising source of data for studying green spaces. User-generated data have, however, platform specific characteristics that limit their potential use. In this article, we compare the ability of different user-generated data sets to provide information on where, when and how people use and value urban green spaces. We compare four types of data: social media, sports tracking, mobile phone operator and public participation geographic information systems (PPGIS) data in a case study from Helsinki, Finland. Our results show that user-generated geographic information sources provide useful insights about being in, moving through and perceiving urban green spaces, as long as evident limitations and sample biases are acknowledged. Social media data highlight patterns of leisure time activities and allow further content analysis. Sports tracking data and mobile phone data capture green space use at different times of the day, including commuting through the parks. PPGIS studies allow asking specific questions from active participants, but might be limited in spatial and temporal extent. Combining information from multiple user-generated data sets complements traditional data sources and provides a more comprehensive understanding of green space use and preferences.
Original languageEnglish
Article number103845
JournalLANDSCAPE AND URBAN PLANNING
Volume201
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

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