What Makes Paris Look Like Paris? A Creative Use of Google Street View

You know the archi­tec­ture of Paris when you see it. But what makes Parisian archi­tec­ture dis­tinc­tive? What visu­al ele­ments come togeth­er to pro­duce a par­tic­u­lar urban land­scape? Five schol­ars from Carnegie Mel­lon and the École nor­male supérieure are try­ing to give pre­cise answers to those ques­tions. And they’re tak­ing a nov­el approach. They’re run­ning a large repos­i­to­ry of geo­t­agged imagery from Google Street View through a pro­pri­etary algo­rithm and then iden­ti­fy­ing the dis­tinc­tive archi­tec­tur­al ele­ments for each locale — the street signs, win­dows, bal­conies that make a city unique. Their exper­i­ment (all summed up in a short abstract here) cov­ers Paris, Lon­don, Prague, Barcelona, Milan, New York, Boston, Philadel­phia, San Fran­cis­co, San Paulo, Mex­i­co City, and Tokyo.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Google “Art Project” Brings Great Paint­ings & Muse­ums to You

Google Street View Opens Up a Look at Shackleton’s Antarc­tic

Tour the Ama­zon with Google Street View; No Pass­port Need­ed

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