Project: Place Pulse
We are frequently admonished not to judge a book by its cover; with Place Pulse, you’re free to judge a city by its street views.
Place Pulse, a project from the MIT Media Lab, wants to learn more about how people perceive their cities. According to principal investigator César Hildago, “Cities are not just collections of demographics, but places that people experience. Urban environments are known to elicit strong evaluative responses, and there is evidence and theories suggesting that these responses may affect criminal and health behaviors. Yet, we lack good quantitative data on the responses elicited by urban environments.”
“Place Pulse is an effort to help collect quantitative data of urban perception to help advance these research efforts and open new avenues of research.”
To participate, you can simply go to the website and answer some “hot or not” style questions. You’ll be presented with two images and asked to chose between them, based on questions like “Which looks safer?” or “Which looks livelier?” So far more than 1.2 million opinions have been rendered.
“With enough user participation,” suggests the website, “Place Pulse can identify which neighborhoods in Bangkok are perceived better than neighborhoods in New York City or to examine how the distribution of a certain perception in Mexico City compares with that same perception in Tokyo.”