Up-and-Coming or Down-and-Out?

Social Media Popularity as an Indicator of Neighborhood Change

+ Constantine Kontokosta, Yuan Lai


By quantifying Twitter activity and sentiment for each of 274 neighborhood areas in New York City, this study introduces the Neighborhood Popularity Index and correlates changes in the index with real estate prices, a common measure of neighborhood change. Results show that social media provide both a near-real-time indicator of shifting attitudes toward neighborhoods and an early warning measure of future changes in neighborhood composition and demand. Although social media data provide an important complement to traditional data sources, the use of social media for neighborhood studies raises concerns regarding data accessibility and equity issues in data representativeness and bias.

Constantine E. Kontokosta, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Urban Science and Planning and Director of the Civic Analytics program at the NYU Marron Institute of Urban Management. He also directs the Urban Intelligence Lab and holds cross-appointments at the Center for Urban Science and Progress (CUSP) and the Department of Civil and Urban Engineering at the NYU Tandon School of Engineering, and is affiliated faculty at the NYU Wagner School of Public Service.

Yuan Lai is Research Affiliate at the NYU Marron Institute and is a Assistant Professor/Special Research Fellow at Tsinghua University.

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