The rise of mobile food vending in US cities combines urban space and mobility with continuous online communication. Unlike traditional urban spaces that are predictable and known, contemporary vendors use information technology to generate impromptu social settings in unconventional and often underutilized spaces. This unique condition requires new methods that interpret online communication as a critical component in the production of new forms of public life. We suggest qualitative approaches combined with data-driven analyses are necessary when planning for emergent behavior. In Charlotte, NC, we investigate the daily operations, tweet content, and spatial and temporal sequencing of six vendors over an extended period of time. The study illustrates the interrelationship between data, urban space, and time and finds that a significant proportion of tweet content is used to announce vending locations in a time-based pattern and that the spatial construction of events is often independent of traditional urban form.
As a growing number of social media platforms now include location information from their users, researchers are confronted with new online representations of individuals, social networks, and the places they inhabit. To better understand these representations and their implications, we introduce the concept of the “spatial self”: a theoretical framework encapsulating the process of online self-presentation based on the display of offline physical activities. Building on previous studies in social science, humanities, and computer and information science, we analyze the ways offline experiences are harnessed and performed online. We first provide an encompassing interdisciplinary survey of research that investigates the relationships between location, information technology, and identity performance. Then, we identify and characterize the spatial self as well as examine its occurrences through three case studies of popular social media sites: Instagram, Facebook, and Foursquare. Finally, we offer possible research directions and methodological considerations for the analysis of geocoded social media data.
A recent approach to place development is to construct integrated systems for managing cultural and identity
resources so that they can be enjoyed through ‘experiential itineraries’. These itineraries are designed on the basis of
a survey of existing heritage, with a view to support creative industries or to help develop new ones. Visitor
experience of a place can be further enhanced and virtualised using smart technologies. The aim of this paper is to
illustrate the studies on experiential itineraries. The studies are rooted in the disciplines of psychology and economy,
and, more recently, in disciplines that study places. The author proposes an analysis and design software tool for
identification and enhancement of cultural and identity resources. The tool is a dynamic and interactive platform for
complex and sensitive management of qualitative data of a place. It is conceived as a single platform with different
entry points, both private and public, for local authorities, professionals and citizens. The paper concludes with a
brief presentation of case studies carried out in the historical centres of Palestrina and Gaeta in Italy, both
characterised by low-impact tourism. The main objective of these studies was to achieve smart experiential
knowledge of a place allowing sustainable enjoyment of its resources.