Social interaction location choice : a latent class modelling approach

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Social contacts are an important aspect of an individual's quality of life. Social contacts take place at a certain time and location: Geography matters, for instance, at home or a work location or at different types of (local) facilities such as schools, shops, sports, and catering facilities. For urban planners, it is essential to know which locations provide opportunities for social interaction. As this knowledge is currently largely lacking, more empirical research is needed. The purpose of this study, therefore, is to analyze the diversity of participation in social activities at different locations and the relationship among social interaction location, sociodemographic characteristics, and characteristics of the residential environment. The analyses are based on two-day social interaction diary data that were collected in 2008 among 747 respondents living in the Eindhoven region in The Netherlands. A latent class multinomial logit model is used to segment respondents in terms of their social activity location choices. The article reports findings of several descriptive analyses and the latent class model. Four latent classes are identified, showing different patterns in choices for social activity locations. Latent class membership can be explained by household and personal time-use characteristics (e.g., gender, age, household type, number of face-to-face social interactions, frequency of contact with neighbors), as well as characteristics of the residential environment (e.g., urban density, distance to several facilities, and satisfaction with local facilities). The findings could provide useful information for local governments and planners regarding the importance of public facilities for social interaction of various segments of the population to support individual well-being and neighborhood livability.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)959-972
Number of pages14
JournalAnnals of the American Association of Geographers
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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