Social media study of landscape preferences in Noord-Brabant


Landscape preferences  in Noord-Brabant

Wolfs Company, on behalf of BrabantKennis, performed an study of landscape preferences in the Dutch province of Noord-Brabant based on social media data from the Flickr platform.

Growth in the logistics sector, the transition to sustainable energy and urbanization ensure an increasing demand on the landscape in Noord-Brabant  As a result of these developments and the aging population in the countryside, agricultural landscape and nature reserves are under pressure. At the same time demands for ‘green spaces’ and protection of natural areas for biodiversity conservation are also on the rise.  To gain more insight into the use and appreciation of the Noord-Brabant landscape, BrabantKennis has started an exploratory research program: “Land of Scarcity and Abundance”. In the context of this research program,  performed research into the appreciation of the Brabant landscape based on an analysis of social media. Better insight into the interests that play a role in the Brabant landscape can contribute to transparent policy and a balanced spatial development.

Using social media data to study landscape preferences

Social media reflect the behavior of people who use or move in the Brabant landscape. An uploaded photo provides insight into which aspects of a landscape are valued and how people use the landscape (walking, cycling, etc.). By comparing behavior on social media between different areas and over time, insight could be gained into which aspects of the landscape are valued, why and how this perception changes over time. We used public photographs that were uploaded to the Flickr platform and that had additional data associated with them (i.e. location, date, etc.) to establish a database of landscape related photographs in Noord-Brabant. Based on the database we then developed StoryMaps to show spatial patterns and trends in landscape preferences in Noord-Brabant. StoryMaps are visually attractive and interactive tools for sharing spatial data, as can be seen in the picture below.