Social Science

Toward User-Generated Content as a Mechanism of Digital Placemaking—Place Experience Dimensions in Spatial Media

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Spatial media bring out new forms of interaction with places, leading to the emergence of new ways of embodying the experience. The perception of place and its dynamics of change has been multiplied by the emergence of digital platforms, which create many and varied representations of place in spatial media. These representations are dependent on the digital platforms’ ecosystem, formed by platform-specific mechanisms of digital placemaking. The study applied text mining techniques and statistical methods to explore the role of user-generated content as a digital placemaking practice in shaping place experience. The online reviews were collected from Google Maps for 23 places from Poznań, Poland. The analysis showed that place experience is described by three dimensions: attributes, practices and atmosphere, or place practices that most closely reflect the specificity of a place. The place attributes blurred the boundaries between their digital images, whereas the atmosphere dimension reduces the diversity and uniqueness of the place. In conclusion, user-generated content (UGC) as an element of the process of digital placemaking increases place awareness and democratizes human participation in its creation, yet it affects its reduction to homogeneous information processed through mechanisms operating within a given digital platform.