Using Google Street View to See A City’s Personality – Next American City


Matt Bevilacqua reports on a project at Carnegie Mellon where they have used Google Street View to find what makes cities distinct. The team developed an algorithm that can identify patterns in windows, doors, columns, etc. and figure out which ones happen a lot and are distinct, and therefore give a city its character. It also identifies elements that may be common between different cities. Interestingly, it worked well with European cities, but many American cities are too heterogeneous, and don’t really have a distinct theme, despite the anomalies of bay windows in San Francisco and fire escapes in New York, as Bevilacqua points out. A very interesting tool.

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About Dave Munson
This blog is about architecture, cities, and myself.

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