What a neural network thinks about your neighborhood—and why it matters

Fast Co. Design

What makes us perceive a place as safe, or even beautiful? AI is confirming century-old suspicions.

We hold certain truths about cities to be self-evident. That includes the theories put forth by urbanists like Jane Jacobs decades ago—like the idea that design elements such as glazing and street lighting make streets safer, or that architectural diversity and pedestrians are both keys to healthy neighborhoods. But up until recently, it’s been tough to test those theories broadly and empirically; every city is different, and collecting enough data to study them all has been arduous.

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