North Carolina State College researchers discovered they might use Twitter to know modifications in what New York Metropolis park customers valued most about 4 iconic metropolis parks earlier than and after COVID-19 lockdowns went into impact. The researchers additionally discovered Twitter helpful for monitoring complaints about particular person parks.
The findings point out social media could possibly be an essential software for park managers, park planners or others to reply in actual time to modifications in customers’ wants or to plan for future parks, doubtlessly sooner than utilizing conventional survey-based strategies.
“We discovered that you may pull out element about particular person parks, in addition to observe what individuals worth in parks, complaints that they had about particular occasions, and even broader societal points that persons are speaking about,” mentioned research co-author Aaron Hipp, affiliate professor of group well being and sustainability at NC State. “Whereas we’ve got some further work to automate this and get nearer to real-time monitoring, we expect our findings point out that parks can monitor this data and really feel assured that among the social media site visitors could be a fairly dependable reflection of public sentiments.”
For the research, researchers tracked tweets about Central Park in Manhattan, Prospect Park in Brooklyn, Flushing Meadows in Queens and the Bronx Park from March 2019 to February 2020, after which from March 2020 to February 2021. They used pure language processing and matter modeling methods to research a complete of 71,792 tweets, which excluded retweets, tweets from influencers, bots, and tweets containing fewer than three phrases. General, they discovered tweets about Central Park grew 18% and tweets about Prospect Park grew by 87%. In the meantime, tweets about Flushing Meadows declined 71% and tweets about Bronx Park fell 32%.
Researchers mentioned the findings replicate the consequences of a COVID-19 stay-at-home order. Since out of doors recreation was restricted to solitary train, parks and trails grew to become standard locations after March 2020. Nevertheless, this pattern didn’t appear to carry true throughout all parks as a result of their distinct choices.
“Flushing Meadows is legendary for sports activities occasions, however in the course of the pandemic, these have been principally canceled,” mentioned the research’s lead writer Jing-Huei Huang, postdoctoral analysis scholar at NC State. “In Bronx Park, individuals tended to tweet in regards to the zoo and Botanical Backyard, however these have been closed, in order that was mirrored within the decline in tweets.”
Tweets about bodily exercise equivalent to strolling, jogging and biking grew in all 4 parks in the course of the pandemic. The researchers additionally noticed considerations about social distancing and associated points in all 4.
“In all 4 parks, we noticed taking part in bodily exercise open air was notably essential when individuals needed to maintain distant from one another, they usually weren’t capable of take part in social actions,” Huang mentioned. “We have been additionally capable of seize unfavorable emotions when individuals have been upset seeing crowds in parks, or when individuals weren’t carrying masks,” Huang added. “It’s sending helpful alerts to the administration workforce.”
In addition they captured tweets about particular incidents in every park that mirrored bigger social considerations. For instance, they noticed a peak in tweets about racial discrimination in Might 2020 after the Central Park birdwatching incident, when Amy Cooper, a white lady, referred to as the police on a Black man, Christian Cooper, who was birdwatching. In addition they noticed complaints about Flushing Meadows changing into a “large car parking zone” amid advocacy for a brand new greenway to extend entry and guarantee pedestrian security.
In a follow-up research, they’re planning to check information gathered utilizing conventional surveys to what they discovered on social media.
“An extended-range aim is to have the ability to get this suggestions in actual time, so park managers may launch programming in response,” Hipp mentioned. “For instance, amid a surge in demand, you could possibly open a road close by for waking or biking. There may be additionally large potential right here for the analysis of packages and occasions particularly when selections are made on the fly, equivalent to throughout COVID. This social media information can present a retrospective alternative to judge what individuals have been saying in regards to the park, a selected program or occasion.”
The paper, “Exploring values by Twitter information related to city parks pre- and post-COVID-19,” was printed on-line in Panorama and City Planning. Co-authors included Myron F. Floyd and Laura G. Tateosian. The research is a part of the venture “Greenspace Traits and their Associations with Inhabitants Well being” funded by USDA Forest Service Grant/Settlement Quantity: 16-JV-11330144-065
Observe to authors: The summary follows.
“Exploring values by Twitter information related to city parks pre- and post-COVID-19”
Authors: Jing-Huei Huang, Myron F. Floyd, Laura G. Tateosian and J. Aaron Hipp
Printed on-line in Panorama and City Planning.
Summary: Since faculty and enterprise closures because of the evolving COVID-19 outbreak, city parks have been a preferred vacation spot, providing areas for each day health actions and an escape from the house surroundings. There’s a want for proof for parks and recreation departments and companies to base selections when adapting insurance policies in response to the speedy change in demand and preferences in the course of the pandemic. The appliance of social media information analytic methods permits a qualitative and quantitative big-data method to realize unobtrusive and immediate insights on how parks are valued. This research investigates how public values related to NYC parks has shifted between pre- COVID (i.e., from March 2019 to February 2020) and postCOVID (i.e., from March 2020 to February 2021) by a social media microblogging platform –Twitter. A subject modeling method for brief textual content recognized widespread traits of the modifications in Twitter matters relating to impressions and values related to the parks over two years. Whereas the NYC lockdown resulted in a lot fewer social actions in parks, some parks continued to be valued for bodily exercise and nature contact in the course of the pandemic. Considerations about individuals not maintaining bodily distance arose in parks the place frequent human interactions and crowding appeared to trigger the next chance of the coronavirus transmission. This research demonstrates social media information could possibly be used to seize park values and be particular per park. Outcomes may inform park administration throughout disruptions when use is altered and the wants of the general public could also be altering.