rastros urbanos digitais [urban digital traces] by Roberta Berardo
The digital realm and the physical world are not entirely separate; they communicate, reflect, and engage in debate with each other. Considering this relationship, the following question arises: how can the concept of connectivity, as manifested in social media, be translated into an analysis of the territory?
The social media platform Twitter enables deliberate location-based check-ins. Consequently, the locations an individual traverses in the territory and records on the platform represent their urban digital traces. Each of these footprints carries distinct characteristics — some are densely clustered, while others are more dispersed across the territory; some have a high volume of tweets, while others have a low volume. These footprints represent personal narratives, recording users' urban traces as a way to comprehend individual activities and experiences in the city.
A locale is defined by the people who move through it. When two places share common visitors, they become linked through these urban authors. Therefore, a specific site establishes a connection to all the other places that its visitors have been to: those who were here were also there. These relationships form what we will call a "Network of Coincidences" — a centralized network formed by all the places that share user traces with a central chosen locale. Here, "coincidence" refers to synchronicity rather than chance. This network embodies the interconnection of places based on the traces shared by users. By using the linear distances between connected places in the network, we describe its extension. There are broad networks spread over a wide geographic area, connecting places and people from various regions. In contrast, compact networks, with limited reach, suggest concentration within a smaller geographic vicinity, indicating strong connections between proximate sites. Overlaying the network's coverage onto the territory with the quantity of tweets from unique users at that point yields a profile of the social attractiveness of that place, highlighting the nature of connections in the city.
"Rastros Urbanos Digitais" (Urban Digital Traces) is a web-based interactive data visualization project that introduces the concept of Networks of Coincidences. Using tweets as a database, it explores potential narratives of connections in the city of São Paulo and invites readers to formulate hypotheses about places and people's relations during the year 2022.