People-Mapping Through Google Street View

Urban geographers might wish they had a complete map of how people distribute themselves in public spaces. As a proxy, they can use Google Street View. It’s free, convenient, quick, data-rich, spatially integrated, temporally deep, regularly updated, and constantly expanding. Try budgeting for all that in your next research proposal.

A study comparing images of New Orleans in 2007 and 2016 found a striking increase in the number of people (and bicycles) occupying public space.




  • Barbara Penner
  • Belmont Freeman
  • Simon Sadler
  • Naomi Stead

Barbara Penner

Barbara Penner is a columnist for Places. She is Senior Lecturer in Architectural History at the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL.

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Belmont Freeman

Belmont Freeman is a columnist for Places. He is principal of Belmont Freeman Architects, an award-winning design firm in New York City.

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Simon Sadler

Simon Sadler is a columnist for Places. He teaches the history and theory of architecture, design, and urbanism across several programs at the University of California, Davis, where he is a professor in the Department of Design.

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Naomi Stead

Naomi Stead is a columnist for Places. She is an architecture critic and a professor of architecture at Monash University.

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