We are where we live

Up to now several topics such as public participation GIS, Cyberinfrastructure, Agents, Social Network Analysis methods, etc. were discussed. These topics are pretty much about manipulating geospatial data, since that is what we do in GIScience, I think. And when it comes down to the data, humans are all about providing data. There are many use of such data and because of its enormous quantity, one can collect and retrace back or even create the target’s profile based on tweets, purchases made, photos, friends, used search keywords, etc. Therefore one can use software to estimate the living setting of the user quite accurately using such information available in the web. As for geospatial data, specifically, one can collect, manipulate and sometime visualize the data as a map and one may believe such digitalized representation of a space is in fact identical to the actual space, and it was possible because it is mere a space.

However, in EPBG, a space is not just a space. In my understanding, EPBG argues that there are such a strong relationship with one’s behavior and the way one perceive the surrounding, and not the surrounding itself. It was quite intriguing, because in that sense, if two individuals who are located in completely different location may behave quite similarly if their way of processing the external information for the different settings are equivalent and vice versa.

So far in GIScience, humans are all about providing data. Whereas in EPBG, it is human, specifically the brain, that collects the information from the past experiences, memories, etc. from a specific space and re-create a place, therefore each space representing a unique place for each individual and that leads to the specific behavior.

This reminds me of a quote “You are what you buy”

And make me think that in fact, we are not only what we buy/eat, but we are also where we live. Since there is a clear distinction with people living in North America settings, like us, versus Europe, Africa, Middle East, and Asia, in terms of level of education, daily life style, diet, language, etc. Furthermore, even within the North America, depending on which regions distinguishes us and one can observe such distinctions even within a city like Montreal. And there comes the issue of MAUP.

Long story short, it is not whether we, as humans, our behaviors are shaped by the environment per se nor these shape the environment, but it is rather bidirectional: we perceive the environment the way we have been affected by, therefore both are intrinsically correlated.

This is such a headache because psychology is not my strongest field. Nevertheless, I find this subject quite absorbing.


Tags: , ,

Comments are closed.