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The Geography of Taste

Dissertation / Thesis: Aug 2015 to Jan 2018

Subtitle: 
A Data-Driven Measure of Social Distinction
Project description: 

This project is inspired by Bourdieu's theory of social distinction, that is, the cultural choice, or taste, is the best indicator of social position. The researcher used this theory and used a multitude of datasets that are reflective of taste to further discover the socio-spatial structure of the post-modern city and go beyond the conventional urban boundaries such as zip code or block groups. 

The researcher is using three datasets for the research: (1) The Yelp dataset which reflects people's taste of food and ambiance; (2) The Hershey Company dataset that reflects the candy taste; and (3) The Airbnb data which is reflective of the taste of decoration taste.

By investigating the similarities between different tastes and then studying the geographic distribution of the dataset, the researcher discovers the spatial distribution of different social groups. To this end, different supervised and unsupervised machine learning methods, point pattern analysis processes, and geographic simulations are used.