UDSU (Prof. Sergio Porta) in partnership with University of Cambridge (PI) (Computer Lab, Dr. Cecilia Mascolo) and Queen Mary University of London (School of Mathematical Sciences – Complex Systems, Prof. Vito Latora) has been awarded almost £1M by EPSRC for a project named GALE: Global Accessibility to Local Experience. The project has a duration of 36 months.
The research hypothesis behind GALE is that, with a scientific definition of fluid neighborhoods and the use of geo-social network metrics on data harvested from mobile phones and online social networks, it is possible to build recommender systems which are more like a local human guide than a book guide, and can therefore deliver better integrated socio-geographic recommendations, offering the local experience of places in real-time to everyday city-users as well as to the growing cohort of external visitors. To support our research hypothesis we will explore a notion of fluid neighborhood that is constructed in society (socially and culturally, individually and collectively) like the one used by environmental psychologists and urban sociologists, but still identified in space (geographically), like the one used by urban designers. Secondarily, we will envision how the evidence generated about fluid neighborhoods’ nature and behavior may change the way we understand the life of urban communities, the way they interact with space, the way we can govern and plan them, and how these dynamics may be shaped by the future evolution of technology.