The spatial and temporal variability of Wikipedia content in London

Our student Shahreen Nawfee will present her new short paper at the flagship conference GIScience 2021, which is happening online this year. Check out the conference programme here.

Abstract. Spatial user-generated content (UGC) is increasingly being used to study a variety of geographical phenomena, including urban change in social and economic dimensions. Wikipedia content evolves over time and includes articles about geographical areas, points of interest, and geo-located events. In this article, we explore the spatio-temporal variability of geo-located Wikipedia pages, considering their complete editing history. Selecting Greater London as a case study, we study the association between Wikipedia activity and the socio-demographic characteristics of the spatial context. Editing activity grows rapidly at first, and is then followed by a slowdown, reaching a stable rate, with occasional spikes. The initial growth is distributed throughout the study area, but activity becomes gradually more concentrated in central areas. The socio-demographic variability is strongly related to the presence of Wikipedia pages, but only partially to the editing. This approach may support the detection and characterisation of socio-economic change at the urban scale.

Distribution of geo-located Wikipedia pages in Greater London 2001–2020

Reference: Nawfee, S., Ballatore, A., De Sabbata, S., & Tate, N. (2021). Spatio-temporal variability in Wikipedia content: The case of Greater London. UC Santa Barbara: Center for Spatial Studies Retrieved from

Article: open PDF on eScholarship