Yelp helps us to find good restaurants according to our preferences, but when you take a closer look also generates plenty of data about lifestyle clusters in the city. Yelp’s new Wordmap service shows geographical heat maps based on Yelp keywords.
Yelp Wordmap enables us to see where specific keywords are used the most in reviews of restaurants and bars. When you search ‘hipster’ in New York, Williamsburg and the Lower East Side light up. If you check for ‘hipster’ in London, the map shows that East London is the best place to run into beards and fixies. In Paris it’s different — hipster spots are more spread over the city.
This Yelp service is not only about hipsters and finding your way to the coolest places in an unknown city. When you search for ‘kosher’ you can easily locate Jewish neighborhoods in a city, and the keyword ‘curry’ highlights the districts where most Indian and Bengal people live. ‘Fish and chips’ are pretty well distributed over London, which says something about the wide range of people that eat the traditional British snack. ‘Cocktails’, on the other hand, are only served in exclusivity-oriented areas. To some extent they overlap the ‘hipster’ scene in London, but cocktails are also served in posh areas. In New York, Manhattan is the place-to-be to grab a pasta. And don’t think you’ll find ‘dim sum’ all over San Francisco — you better go to one of these few city districts.
It’s also possible to compare different cities based on more specific keywords, for instance dishes. ‘Gluten’ seems to be a big thing in cool restaurants in Philadelphia, and it seems to be more part of the local hipster scene that it is in New York.
Yelp Wordmap tells a lot about the city and how places are perceived by reviewers. But it also shows how different subcultures concentrate in urban areas, especially in the world’s leading cities.