Place Pulse aims to quantitatively recognize which areas of a city are perceived as wealthy, modern, safe, lively, active, unique, central, adaptable or family friendly.

With enough user participation, Place Pulse can identify which neighborhoods in Bangkok are perceived better than neighborhoods in New York City or to examine how the distribution of a certain perception in Mexico City compares with that same perception in Tokyo.

For curious researchers, the Place Pulse dataset can even be used to study the association between urban perception and other datasets, such as violent crime, creativity or economic growth.

Current Team

César Hidalgo

Principal Investigator

César is an assistant professor and the Asahi Broadcast Corporation Career Development Professor at the MIT Media Lab.

Nikhil Naik


Nikhil is a PhD student in the Camera Culture group. He is interested in computer vision and computational social science.

Abhimanyu Dubey


Abhimanyu is an undergraduate student at the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi. His research interests are computer vision and deep learning.

Past Team

Phil Salesses

Project Lead

Phil is a graduate researcher at the MIT Media Lab who has worked with web technologies, geographic information systems and various forms of remote sensing data.

Katja Schechtner

Urban Studies Advisor

Katja has a background in architecture, urban studies and technology assessment. She holds a dual appointment by the Asian Development Bank and MIT Media Lab, leading large scale urban mobility investment and research projects in Asia-Pacific.

Paul Sawaya

Web and Integration

Paul studied computer science at Hampshire College, and hacks on identity at Mozilla. He's interested in big data, user privacy, and all of the complicated issues at their intersection.

Michael Wong

Ranking Algorithm

Michael studied at Harvard and recently joined Applied Predictive Technologies in San Francisco. He is passionate about using big data to understand and improve our world.

Michael Xu

General Algorithms

Michael is a sophomore at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and is majoring in computer science.

Anthony DeVincenzi

Ars Electronica Exhibit

Anthony is an American designer and technologist who recently graduated from the MIT Media Lab. He is co-founder of Terrarium, a collective focusing on building new and exciting mobile experiences.

Deepak Jagdish


Deepak worked as a visualization & design researcher at Nokia Research Center after finishing his Master's in HCI at Georgia Tech. Now as a graduate student at the Media Lab, he's worked on adding more cities & studies to the new version of Place Pulse.

Daniel Smilkov


Daniel is interested in data-mining, modeling and designing algorithms for large real-world networks. He has been working on the new real-time ranking algorithm, visualizing results, and other server related functionalities.