By: Stefano Bloch
Article Title, Issue and Volume:
An On-the-Ground Challenge to Uses of Spatial Big Data in Assessing Neighborhood Character
Special Issue – Fieldwork in Geography
What is the main purpose of your study?
This articles challenges scholars to resist conducting research on neighborhoods solely from behind a computer console or data set. I argue that ethnographic research is a key component of conducting research on neighborhood character.
What are the practical, day to day, implications of your study?
This research advocates for a closer, in-person analysis of neighborhood spaces in order to glean a fuller and more nuanced picture of neighborhood character.
How does your study relate to other work on the subject?
This study fits within discussions about what methods to employ and what data is best put to use in research on neighborhoods.
What are two or three interesting findings that come from your study?
I find that Google Street View has major blind spots in terms of its use in analyzing neighborhood spaces.
311 call data are limited and only provide a small picture of how spaces might actually operate and appear from a more holistic perspective.
What might be some of the theoretical implications of this study?
Theory comes from discovery, and discovery is an on-the-ground endeavor.
How does your research help us think about Geography?
Despite, or perhaps in addition to, the wonderful and widely available technological advances available in conducting research, on-the-ground qualitative methods are necessary for further geographical knowledge.