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Quantitative Evaluation of Public Spaces Using Crowd Replication

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  • Samuli Hemminki
  • Keisuke Kuribayashi
  • Shin'ichi Konomi
  • Petteri Nurmi
  • Sasu Tarkoma


We propose crowd replication as a low-effort, easy to implement and cost-effective mechanism for quantifying the uses, activities, and sociability of public spaces. Crowd replication combines mobile sensing, direct observation, and mathematical modeling to enable resource efficient and accurate quantification of public spaces. The core idea behind crowd replication is to instrument the researcher investigating a public space with sensors embedded on commodity devices and to engage him/her into imitation of people using the space. By combining the collected sensor data with a direct observations and population model, individual sensor traces can be generalized to capture the behavior of a larger population. We validate the use of crowd replication as a data collection mechanism through a field study conducted within an exemplary metropolitan urban space. Results of our evaluation show that crowd replication accurately captures real human dynamics (0.914 correlation between indicators estimated from crowd replication and visual surveillance) and captures data that is representative of the behavior of people within the public space.