The Friendly Cities Lab is an active research group within the Department of Geography at Penn State. FCL is a Smart Cities initiative that studies interpersonal relationships in geographic space. We create a new measures of geographical nearness called 'social distance' to measure how 'close' places based on their connections instead of how close they are on a map. We use innovative data sets ranging from chocolate, online dating, phone calls, and photos of living rooms to learn just a little bit more about the planet and its people.
Keywords: geographic information systems (GIS), social networks, complexity, social capital, urban planning.
Key Sponsors: The Hershey Company & The Knight Foundation.
Data used: Telecommunications, migration, transportation, commutes, interior images, consumer behavior, mentorships, real estate, online social media, political data, college admissions and sports, online reviews, restaurants and third places, personal interviews and surveys.
Team: Geographers, architects, engineers, sociologists, statisticians & information scientists
Developments: Social flow theory, social distance matrices, GIS + social networks, metrics for dyadic interaction in geography.
Director: Clio Andris, PhD (MIT 2011)
Founded: 2015 as part of the Penn State GeoVISTA Center