New research shows 15-40% of land use approvals are being impacted by use of “bots” (robots)

The Land Economics Foundation (LEF) is a not-for-profit charitable foundation organized to administer an investment fund providing grants to advance the application of land economics to the mutual goals of Lambda Alpha International (LAI) and the Foundation:

Connecting professionals.   Sharing knowledge.   Advancing best practices.

A multi-university team led by Dr. Justin Hollander, PhD, FAICP, Tufts University, and supported by a grant from LEF, has undertaken the first research on the impact of social media and the use of “bots” on land use decisions. 

Hollander is Professor of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning at Tufts and a “thought leader” at the intersection of cognitive science and the design of cities.

He co-edited the book Urban Experience and Design: Contemporary Perspectives on Improving the Public Realm (Routledge, 2020) and authored seven other books including Cognitive Architecture Designing for How We Respond to the Built Environment (with Ann Sussman) and Urban Social Listening: Potential and Pitfalls for Using Microblogging Data in Studying Cities. 

The project explored the risks that social media manipulation might pose to community discourse on land development and planning. His team reviewed the literature, conducted an investigation of “bot” activity for 21 major real estate projects in the U.S., and recommended additional research.

The research concluded: “All the projects had at least 15% bots with “La Central” Bronx with the highest percentage, nearly 40%. These finding suggest that the use of bots in real estate development communications online is widespread and potentially harmful.”

LEF is proud to support this leading research.  Dr. Hollander was kind enough to create an “Executive Summary” of the study for Keynotes.  Enjoy!

Please review the excellent Executive Summary at this link.

SMOTE [Synthetic Minority Oversampling Technique]

Examples shown below of “bot” graphics from projects analyzed in the “Executive Summary.”






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