Data visualization of the US with shading to show risk level of encountering someone with Covid-19.

Friendly Cities Lab

Friendly Cities Lab

The Friendly Cities Lab is part of CSPAV and is a research group affiliated with both the School of City & Regional Planning and the School of Interactive Computing at Georgia Tech. We are working on a new field of study: interpersonal relationships and social networks in geographic space.

About the Lab

The Friendly Cities Lab works in several research areas:

  • Spatial Social Network (SSN) Analysis
  • Regional Network Analysis
  • Applied Planning for Relationships in the City
  • Geovisualization and Information Visualization.

We analyze traditional social networks from sociology within a GIS environment. We develop metrics to show how relationships are hindered or helped by the built environment, and how powerful individuals benefit from the surrounding environment.

We measure how connected places are and how this reflects the culture, diversity, and idea flow of a city. We find hidden connections by developing a new measure of social distancethe strength of social flows between placesSocial distance is driven by connecting over political/administrative, natural, and infrastructural boundaries, and through institutions (universities, military bases, governments), social ties, and shared culture. 

We help urban planners plan better cities by finding the amenities (parks, bars, Tinder, etc.) that best support personal relationships such as friends, families, co-workers, organization-based relationships, and romantic relationships.

We create interactive visualizations and tools for exploratory spatial data analysis (ESDA) with HCI principles in mind. 


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