From All Sides: How Disparate Groups See Their Community

By Keith Dewar, Wen Gao and Wenmei Li.

Published by The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social and Community Studies

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published Online: August 15, 2016 $US5.00

People see the urban environment differently. How they see it and the degree of difference in perception is less clear. Many studies use conventional survey techniques to try to understand how different people view the municipality they live or visit. The results allow planners and civic officials to improve the social, environmental, and economic wellbeing of the community. Yet these techniques are often extensive and time consuming putting them out of the reach of many city governments. There is a complementary way to view how people see the community that avoids some of the issues of cost, complexity, language, and degree of familiarity with the environment. In this study, photos taken by newcomers, longtime residents, and tourists were recovered from various public online sites. These images were then analysed using visual context analysis software. The results show where the groups agree or differ in their perceptions of their environment. This exploratory study was done to answer the basic question can differences between the disparate groups be discerned using a simple and inexpensive visual image method. A small community with a multicultural base of 120,000 in Maritime Canada was chosen for this case study but the basic applications used here are usable elsewhere and at different scales.

Keywords: Geography, Urban Studies, Tourism, Cultural Studies, Visual Rhetoric, Photographic Analysis

The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social and Community Studies, Volume 11, Issue 3, September 2016, pp.1-11. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published Online: August 15, 2016 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1004.361KB)).

Prof. Keith Dewar

Professor, Faculty of Business, University of New Brunswick, Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada

Wen Gao

Graduate Student, Interdisciplinary Studies, University of New Brunswick, Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada

Wenmei Li

Research Associate, Faculty of Business, University of New Brunswick, Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada