UNDERSTANDING YOUTH LANDSCAPE PERCEPTIONS AND MAPPING LANDSCAPE VALUES VIA SOCIAL MEDIA
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Hydroelectricity is a ‘special case’ among renewable energies for its maturity, large scale, and extensive landscape impacts. To understand how locals perceive, use, and value the landscape is critical when considering hydro dam proposals. Previous research offers insight into local perspectives but conventional methods (e.g., survey and interview) show gaps in youth participation and engagement in these research activities. To fill this gap, we collect social media data to understand youth perceptions of the landscape. Results show that the most prominent landscape value in the Clean Energy Project (Site C) located in northern British Columbia area is aesthetics which is highly related to the river, riparian land, and mountains. In the Mactaquac dam area of New Brunswick, reservoir-based lifestyle is key to interpreting youth landscape perception. Landscape values are then mapped by kernel density estimation to show the spatial patterns. We find that different landscape values emerge in different places. This demonstrates that the approach of collecting and coding geo-tagged social media data is feasible and effective for landscape research.