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Tweet-Sourcing Caracas: Using E-Participation for Urban Planning In Global South Cities

Paty Diaz, Alexandra Guadalupe

The purpose of this study is to explore how social media can be used as a data source and to engage citizens in urban planning and governance process. Given the rise of mobile technologies and the extensive use of social media networks in cities in the global south, electronic participation (e-participation) has become a mechanism for constant interaction between residents and government officials and is a method to collect unique information from the public. However, it is still not clear how reliable and accurate social media data can be for urban planning. Through a case study analysis of Sucre Municipality in Caracas, the capital city of Venezuela, this research used a social media platform, Twitter, to examine the content collected through the exchange between the public and the Mayor of Sucre over three months. The tweets were examined regarding time, location, theme and content and comparisons were made with official documents and news articles to evaluate accuracy and relevance of the data. People engage more with the Mayor than the institution and the amount of tweets regarding the city overpass political or personal ones. Slum areas use social media as an advocacy platform to rise their concerns regarding water shortage and waste management irregularities. Urban and formal areas use tweets as primary mechanism to communicate crimes and irregularities in the physical state of streets. Two tweet-sourced interactive maps were developed in web mapping platform to visualize the content of the tweets. Recommendations were made to help municipalities and planners to incorporate efficiently and critically social media as a new participatory tool for planning and governance.

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Academic Units
Urban Planning
Thesis Advisors
Mian, Nadia A.
Degree
M.S., Columbia University
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