Pattern Recognition in Cultural Production

Pattern Recognition in Cultural Production

Student Author: 
Joanne Lee & Emmeily Zhang
May 2015
Mona El Khafif

Toronto has often been noted as creative and diverse. The many neighbourhoods of Toronto each have its own characteristics, with different people, scenes and cultural support spaces, demographics and economies. Each one of these neighbourhoods contribute to Toronto in a different way, adding its own input so that the city becomes an aggregation of the characteristics in each different neighbourhood. This analysis tracks from 1996 to 2011, the key factors that influence these areas. 

In order to identify a culturally active neighbourhood, analysis can be conducted on the types of each of these categories: people being being artistic, active and contributors to culture. The parameter for the population of the neighbourhoods if filtered into either having occupation in recreation, in art, or in culture. This group can be seen as creative, productive and active, highly likely to organize cultural events, or to be involved in innovative ideas.

Programmatically, these areas have a high amount of support spaces that foster culture, these spaces have been based on ERA architect’s analysis of Toronto titled “cultural institutions in the public realm”. In addition to these cultural venues, to indicate the activity in the area, Yelp serves as a resource to show popularity. Yelp data is collected from Yelp using Apis and converted into table form. The usage of Yelp data is a good resource for this research as it is based on people’s opinions and its existence provides other users with user experience and testimonials, bring a human characteristic to the analysis. In analyzing neighbourhoods, the rent and density were the main considerations as these factors provided insight on the affordability and existing resources in the area. From this neighbourhood analysis, areas are selected with the highest concentration of people who have occupations in the arts, culture and recreation. These areas are the areas of high cultural activity and productivity.


With these areas, it becomes possible to find out through a series of demographic analysis what kind of conditions should exist and should historically happen in order to have these areas emerge. Four maps that track the last four census dates are created and used to understand this movement, the age of the demographic, the diversity of the demographic, and the building permits that have happened in those years. All of them are indicators to who, why and the kind of building activity that needs to happen throughout time for these areas to become culturally productive.