Urban2Vec: Incorporating Street View Imagery and POIs for Multi-Modal Urban Neighborhood Embedding
Understanding intrinsic patterns and predicting spatiotemporal characteristics of cities require a comprehensive representation of urban neighborhoods. Existing works relied on either inter- or intra-region connectivities to generate neighborhood representations but failed to fully utilize the informative yet heterogeneous data within neighborhoods. In this work, we propose Urban2Vec, an unsupervised multi-modal framework which incorporates both street view imagery and point-of-interest (POI) data to learn neighborhood embeddings. Specifically, we use a convolutional neural network to extract visual features from street view images while preserving geospatial similarity. Furthermore, we model each POI as a bag-of-words containing its category, rating, and review information. Analog to document embedding in natural language processing, we establish the semantic similarity between neighborhood (“document”) and the words from its surrounding POIs in the vector space. By jointly encoding visual, textual, and geospatial information into the neighborhood representation, Urban2Vec can achieve performances better than baseline models and comparable to fully-supervised methods in downstream prediction tasks. Extensive experiments on three U.S. metropolitan areas also demonstrate the model interpretability, generalization capability, and its value in neighborhood similarity analysis.