A (Visual) Tale of Two Parks: Using Instagram Analysis to Examine the Public/Private Economics of Brooklyn Bridge Park

Sunday, 10 July 2016: 14:45
Location: Hörsaal 31 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Scott LIZAMA, City University of New York-Graduate Center, USA
Powerful online image aggregators provide new methodological approaches for the visual sociologist and the study of social space. These aggregators use the Instagram application program interface (API)  to collect an Instagram users image and metadata in an online “archive”. API image collection has been used in large scale quantitative visual analysis using powerful algorithms to interpret social definitions of space from a humanities perspective (Manovich 2013) , but to this researchers knowledge no study has focused on analyzing smaller amounts of Instagram images at the critical socio-spatial level. This paper describes a qualitative approach to visual socio-spatial research that uses a combination of image, hashtag, geolocation, and user generated captioning as insight to the privately funded public space debate.

Using Brooklyn Bridge Park in Brooklyn, New York, as a case study this methodological paper describes a unique qualitative approach that capitalizes on understanding small amounts of digital images (250-1000) with the metadata that is provided with them. A visual socio-spatial analysis describes how to create user/space taxonomies, social interaction through spatial sequencing, and the transecting of public space using time-space sequencing.  Building on the literature of cyborg urbanism (Gandy 2005, Swyngedouw 1996, 2006) these methodological categorizations are explained to demonstrate how visual qualitative analysis of Instagram images can critically inform the intersection of private funding and public space and make the public visible in private urban space funding.