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Understanding the use of green spaces using social media data – possibilities and challenges

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National parks and other protected areas are crucial for biodiversity protection, but justification for their existence often depends on their recreational use. In the urban context, availability of parks and other green spaces are considered an important component of sustainable, healthy and socially equal urban environment. Conservation and green space management require information about the use of green spaces, but such data is generally laborious to collect. Recently, social media has been gaining increasing attention as a data source for research and planning. Social media data come, however, with biases and ethical and practical challenges. In this presentation I will 1) present the characteristics of social media data, 2) inspect their possibilities to gain understanding on when and how people use green spaces, 3) present methodological advancements for social media analytics, and finally, 4) discuss the potential and limitations of social media data analysis in understanding how people use green spaces. The presentation is based on our recent works using social media data in national parks in Finland and in South-Africa and in urban green areas in Finland. For more, please see: https://www.helsinki.fi/en/researchgroups/digital-geography-lab https://www.helsinki.fi/en/researchgroups/digital-geography-lab/social-media-for-conservation-science

This talk is part of the Political Ecology Group meetings series.

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