Geography of Emotion: Where in a City are People Happier?

TitleGeography of Emotion: Where in a City are People Happier?
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsL. Gallegos, K. Lerman, A. Huang, and D. Garcia
Conference NameWWW workshop on MSM

During the last years, researchers explored the geographic and environmental factors that affect happiness. More recently, location-sharing services provided by the social media has given an unprecedented access to geo-located data for studying the interplay between these factors on a much bigger scale. Do location-sharing services help in turn at distinguishing emotions in places within a city? Which aspects contribute better at understanding happier places? To answer these questions, we use data from Foursquare location-sharing service to identify areas within a major US metropolitan area with many check-ins, i.e., areas that people like to use. We then use data from the Twitter microblogging platform to analyze the properties of these areas. Specifically, we have extracted a large corpus of geotagged messages, called tweets, from a major metropolitan area and linked them US Census data through their locations. This allows us to measure the sentiment expressed in tweets that are posted from a specific area, and also use that area's demographic properties in analysis. Our results reveal that areas with many check-ins are diffierent from other areas within the metropolitan region. In particular, these areas have happier tweets, which also encourage people living in it or from other areas to commute longer distances to these places. These findings shed light on the influence certain places play within a city regarding people's emotions and mobility, which in turn can be used for city planners for designing happier and more equitable cities.