Social media insights capture trends in neighbourhood changes

Professor Lex Comber has received funding for research that uses social media insights to track trends in gentrification and house pricing in the UK, Vietnam and New Zealand.

The research is one of seven projects that Smart Data Research UK (SDR UK) is awarding funding under its new accelerator scheme.  

The scheme supports innovative projects that explore how to create, access and use smart data more effectively.

Analysing data for neighbourhood change

Professor Comber’s project will use social media data to understand how local factors such as schools, transport and the neighbourhood affect house prices. 

It will establish innovative methods for analysing neighbourhood changes using social media data and hedonic house price models. 

Professor Comber will use novel text engineering approaches to identify trends like gentrification and house price bubbles and record their impacts on local housing markets. 

Project partners in Vietnam and New Zealand will provide comparative case studies to build an international understanding of the trends.

Valuable insights to inform policy

In the funding announcement, Joe Cuddeford, Director of SDR UK said: “Whenever we use digital services, we generate valuable data that can be reused for research. However, researchers at the forefront of data science face significant challenges.

“These projects will help us make it easier for smart data to be used safely to help solve social and economic challenges.

“From using internet data to map economic activities in the UK to exploring the impact of video games on mental health, these initiatives will deliver valuable insights that can inform policy and enhance our understanding of significant societal issues.”