Utilizing user-generated contents to analyze place-based values and associated environmental features in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Authors: Inhye Kong*,
Topics: Tourism Geography
Keywords: place-based values, cultural ecosystem services, user-generated contents, TripAdvisor, national park
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/8/2020
Start / End Time: 1:45 PM / 3:00 PM
Room: Beverly, Sheraton, IM Pei Tower, Terrace Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The Great Smoky Mountains National Park (GSMNP) has been a popular destination for multiple attractions such as beautiful sceneries, recreational activities, rich biodiversity and cultural heritage. However, the surge of visitors over carrying capacity has been causing serious challenges to maintain the integrity of place experiences and place-based values people assign to a place.
The term ‘place-based values’ has been used interchangeably with landscape values, social values, and cultural ecosystem services. While exploring the individual experiences and values had been limited, the advent of user-generated contents allowed to explore the place experiences and the values people perceive with improved accessibility. However, few studies have utilized text-intensive contents to understand the place-based values. Besides, the relationship between the place-based values and associated environmental features has been poorly understood, which can support the management of the park system.
In this study, I analyze the place-based values at GSMNP by utilizing user-generated contents. For over 20 destinations of GSMNP listed at TripAdvisor, I collected the full reviews with user ID, home location, title, and the date of experience using RSelenium and rvest in R, which resulted in 17446 contents with 10485 unique users. The analysis involved text analysis including natural language process, content annotation and categorization. Besides, the place names and environmental features (e.g. waterfall, trail, stream) were extracted to compare with the place-based values.

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