Who are we?

The Friendly Cities Lab is an active research group within the School of City & Regional Planning and School of Interactive Computing at Georgia Tech. FCL is a Smart Cities initiative that studies interpersonal relationships in geographic space. We create a new measure 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.

Our Projects

Our research themes include Social Flow Theory, Social Distance, Spatial Networks, and love, friendship, family, and relationships in the city. Check some of our projects out!

Challenges for Social Flows

The social flow is a linear geographic feature that evidences an individual’s decision to connect places through travel, telecommunications and/or ...
Read More

Measuring Geographic Pull Power: A Case Study of College Athletics

Student athletes increase the diversity of schools. Which universities draw students from distant and diverse locales? We put together “pull ...
Read More

Using Yelp to Find Romance in the City: A Case of Restaurants in Four Cities

Findings: There’s a certifiable difference in urban hot spots and demand depending on couples’ relationship stage. Key factors for selecting a romantic ...
Read More

Wealthy Hubs and Poor Chains: Constellations in the U.S. Urban Migration System

Findings: Geographically isolated, large cities (like Dallas and Phoenix) tend to receive the most migrants from other US cities. Destination cities ...
Read More

Measuring Attraction and Redistribution of Institution-Based Movements

Findings: Penn State draws more students that are closer to the university and come from higher income families. Alumni from large ...
Read More

A Geographic Information System (GIS)-Based Analysis of Social Capital Data: Landscape Factors That Correlate with Trust

Findings: We trust our neighbors less when there are more people, lower housing value, weaker amenities (libraries and schools), and lower ...
Read More

Our location

We are located in the Center of Spatial Planning Analytics and Visualization at Georgia Tech