Title

Social Media and City Planning: Friend or Foe?

Presentation Type

Presentation

Abstract

City planning continuously struggles to keep up with factors like population growth, changing demographics, a volatile economy and new technology. In an urban environment, problems are difficult to predict, and only become evident after the plans are in place. Facing constant challenges, planners must constantly play catch up. Due to arduous bureaucratic processes and constant demands—both public and private— and an oftentimes-unaware public, the discipline of city planning can become outdated and isolated from the very people it serves.

Today, social media is emerging as a resource for planners, allowing them to think about cities in an entirely new way. Thanks to the real-time, individualized data it creates, planners can use social media to update, create and modify current plans like never before.

This project analyzes social media’s effect on city planning and urban design. By analyzing publicly accessible social media applications like Austin TX’s SNAPPatx and Melbourne, Australia’s FutureMelbourne, along with academically developed tools such as Carnegie Mellon’s Livehoods, this report created a comprehensive picture of social media’s reach into planning. Additionally, this report analyzes the ethical considerations of social media on a broader scale. Online ethics are hard to define. Since social media primarily resides online, examining the ethical limitations and issues surrounding social media is critical.

By comparing a planning project’s initial intention to its actual result, this report assesses its success. For example, the SNAPPatx app allows residents to update other residents on events in Austin like accidents or delays. These data can then be used to find hotspots of these events, and new plans can be created proactively. Using new tools to examine the before and after of these situations shows that social media is in fact a viable resource for planners today and into the future.

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Apr 12th, 10:40 AM Apr 12th, 11:00 AM

Social Media and City Planning: Friend or Foe?

UC 331

City planning continuously struggles to keep up with factors like population growth, changing demographics, a volatile economy and new technology. In an urban environment, problems are difficult to predict, and only become evident after the plans are in place. Facing constant challenges, planners must constantly play catch up. Due to arduous bureaucratic processes and constant demands—both public and private— and an oftentimes-unaware public, the discipline of city planning can become outdated and isolated from the very people it serves.

Today, social media is emerging as a resource for planners, allowing them to think about cities in an entirely new way. Thanks to the real-time, individualized data it creates, planners can use social media to update, create and modify current plans like never before.

This project analyzes social media’s effect on city planning and urban design. By analyzing publicly accessible social media applications like Austin TX’s SNAPPatx and Melbourne, Australia’s FutureMelbourne, along with academically developed tools such as Carnegie Mellon’s Livehoods, this report created a comprehensive picture of social media’s reach into planning. Additionally, this report analyzes the ethical considerations of social media on a broader scale. Online ethics are hard to define. Since social media primarily resides online, examining the ethical limitations and issues surrounding social media is critical.

By comparing a planning project’s initial intention to its actual result, this report assesses its success. For example, the SNAPPatx app allows residents to update other residents on events in Austin like accidents or delays. These data can then be used to find hotspots of these events, and new plans can be created proactively. Using new tools to examine the before and after of these situations shows that social media is in fact a viable resource for planners today and into the future.