Evaluating the Quality of Public Spaces Using Crowdsourcing Data: The Case of the Metropolitan Area of Thessaloniki

Alexandros Sdoukopoulos,Nikolaos Gavanas, Magda Pitsiava-Latinopoulou

Smart Energy for Smart TransportLecture Notes in Intelligent Transportation and Infrastructure(2023)

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One of the critical differences that distinguish the traditional from the sustainable transport planning approach in urban areas is how roads and public spaces are considered and managed. Traditional planning treats roads as linear elements (links) that exclusively serve motor vehicles' movement and thus are cut off from the rest of the public space. In contrast, the sustainable approach recognises the integration of mobility in the urban environment and therefore prioritises the existence of quality urban infrastructure and attractive public spaces, promoting thus sustainable urban mobility. In this framework, the current paper introduces a reliable, simple to implement, and low-cost methodological approach for assessing the perceived quality of public spaces such as parks, squares, and pedestrian areas, using crowdsourcing data. More specifically, the presented approach utilises data from Google Places API and employs Geographic Information Systems and spreadsheets to calculate an overall score for public spaces within a given spatial unit, such as a municipality. Given that the transition from theory to practice underlines issues of scalability, usability, and credibility, the developed methodological approach was applied in the seven municipalities that constitute the Metropolitan Area of Thessaloniki, namely the Municipalities of Ampelokipi-Menemeni, Kalamaria, Kordelio-Evosmos, Neapoli-Sykies, Pavlos Melas, Pylaia-Chortiatis, and Thessaloniki. The pilot implementation highlighted interesting findings for the above-mentioned areas and in addition, it validated the applicability and value of the developed methodological approach which thus can be used as a reliable tool for assessing the quality of public spaces.
Perceived quality, Public spaces, Crowdsourcing data, Google Places API, Metropolitan Area of Thessaloniki
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