Triangulating Neighborhoods: A Research Note on Improving Links Between People and Places in Smaller Cities and Rural Areas

Brittany Barber, Rachel McLay, Daniel Rainham, Howard Ramos


There is growing interest among social and behavioral scientists in exploring concepts of place through characteristics of social and physical space. In smaller regions, such research faces a number of obstacles due to limitations of the geospatial units available, and postal code linkages to these units can be particularly unreliable. This research note explores how triangulating postal code data with open field survey questions on the name of a neighbourhood and adjacent streets can help improve understandings of communities. The research note offers a practical overview of how triangulating missing information can help resolve misclassification errors in postal codes or other geocoding.

Keywords: methodology; socio-spatial; geocoding; postal code; neighborhood

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The Journal of Rural and Community Development is supported by SSHRC.