International Journal of Geographical Information Science: pages 1-22, 2015
Abstract. Urban form and function have been studied extensively in urban planning and geographical information science. However, gaining a greater understanding of how they merge to define the urban morphology remains a substantial scientific challenge. Toward this goal, this paper addresses the opportunities presented by the emergence of crowdsourced data to gain novel insights into form and function in urban spaces. We are focusing in particular on information harvested from social media and other open-source and volunteered datasets (e.g. trajectory and OpenStreetMap data). These data provide a first-hand account of form and function from the people who define urban space through their activities. This novel bottom-up approach to study these concepts complements traditional urban studies to provide a new lens for studying urban activity. By synthesizing recent advancements in the analysis of open-source data, we provide a new typology for characterizing the role of crowdsourcing in the study of urban morphology. We illustrate this new perspective by showing how social media, trajectory, and traffic data can be analyzed to capture the evolving nature of a city’s form and function. While these crowd contributions may be explicit or implicit in nature, they are giving rise to an emerging research agenda for monitoring, analyzing, and modeling form and function for urban design and analysis.