Retrieving Landscape Identity from User-Generated Content: a case study of Cajas National Park, Ecuador

Authors: Inhye Kong*,
Topics: Landscape, Environmental Perception, South America
Keywords: User-generated Content (UGC), landscape identity, cultural ecosystem services, tourism
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/6/2019
Start / End Time: 3:05 PM / 4:45 PM
Room: Taylor, Marriott, Mezzanine Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Cultural Ecosystem Services (CES) is defined as ‘non-material benefits people obtain from ecosystems through spiritual enrichment, cognitive development, reflection, recreation, and aesthetic experiences’ (MEA 2005). Compared to other ecosystem services, CES has been less explored due to intangibility and immeasurability. However, identifying meanings and values found in a place is crucial to shape destination image and a sense of place which result in better management strategies for tourism while securing local identity with psychological empowerment. So far, CES studies have been largely implemented with indicator or extrapolation approaches based on coarse-scale land cover data with limited social survey, which overlook onsite, human-scale, perceptional experience. Recent development of user-generated content (UGC) enables improved access to place experiences from the public. In this study, we aim to explore landscape identity of paramo (tropical alpine grassland) landscape in Cajas National Park in Ecuador, by analyzing both texts (reviews) and photos shared at online platforms (e.g. TripAdvisor, Flickr). Based on the idea of place in Relph (1976) and scene type descriptions (Edwardes and Purves 2007), we retrieve place identity by 1) classifying element, activities and qualities contained in texts and 2) element annotation of photos shared in UGC platforms. Although the combined attributes cannot deliver holistic value of the landscape, it is meaningful to find the major ideas shared in various experiences of visitors.

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