Sites like four-square and Instagram have been used as a tool to gather information through social media. Now thanks to a research project by the School of Computer Science at Carnegie- MellonUniversity we have something called The Livehoods Project. Let’s suppose you are planning a neighbourhood and want to know the effect of allowing a large retailer to open up shop. Livehoods can predict the impact of your decision based on its intensive study of the neighbourhood’s use of social media.
According to information on the Livehoods website, this new tool “allows us to investigate and explore how people actually use the city, simultaneously shedding light onto the factors that come together to shape the urban landscape and the social texture of city life, including municipal borders, demographics, economic development, resources, geography, and planning.”
There are many similarities between planning a city and an exhibition. Both cases involve the movement of people through an environment. If they do not feel comfortable they will choose another neighbourhood. So, a mapping technology like Livehoods, while in its infancy, has tremendous potential as a tool to help organizers move away from the traditional long aisles and the placing of exhibitors based on seniority to communities based on attendee’s habits.
This is one development that we should watch carefully.