This paper explores a blend of digital and traditional methods to inform about a city’s popular spaces. Using locational data from social media platforms including Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, along with using participatory field surveys and direct observations and combining insights from architecture and urban design literature, this study reveals popular socio-spatial clusters in the city of Chicago. The locational data of photographs were visualized by using geographic information systems, and they helped in producing heat maps that showed the spatial distribution of posted photographs. The geo-intensity of photographs illustrated the areas that are the most visited in the city. The study’s results indicate that the city’s most popular places include Millennium Park, Maggie Daley Park, Navy Pier, the Magnificent Mile Gateway, the Inner Loop, the Water Tower Area, the River Confluence, Museum Campus, Urban Giants, Grant Park, and the River City complex. The findings elucidate that social media plays an important role in promoting places and thereby sustaining a greater interest and stream of visitors. Consequently, planners should tap into the public’s digital engagement in city places to improve tourism and the economy.
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