Exploring Spatial Patterns of Guardianship Through Civic Technology Platforms

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Civic technologies levy advances in digital tools to promote civic engagement, giving people a voice to participate in public decision-making. While democratizing participation, the use of such civic tech also leaves behind a digital trace of the behavior of its users. This article uses such a digital trace to explore spatial patterns in active guardianship of public space. Through mapping people’s participation in a platform for reporting neighborhood concerns (a form of digitally enabled guardianship), the spatial range of guardianship is unpacked using exploratory spatial data analysis. Typologies for guardianship behavior are then created using k-means clustering. Results provide an insight into the heterogeneity of spatial behavior of different groups of guardians outside the home environment. Guardians appear to not be limited to activity within a neighborhood, and instead cover a larger awareness space with nodes and paths, and also show distinct patterns, indicating heterogeneity in guardianship patterns. Recommendations are made for to consider operationalizing guardians as heterogeneous, and active in their entire activity space, rather than homogeneous groups assigned as crime prevention forces to a residential area.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
JournalCriminal Justice Review
Early online date3 Dec 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2018