Do-It-Yourself street views and the urban imaginary of Google Street View

Jonathan Cinnamon, Alfie Gaffney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
10 Downloads (Pure)


Google Street View (GSV) is the de facto platform for street-level visual representation in most settings; however, its coverage is highly uneven due to a range of political, legal, technological, and economic factors. GSV’s spatiotemporal disparities are most evident within cities, and this advances a distorted urban imaginary of absences, fragments, and obsolescences. This paper traces key developments in 360° imaging poised to expand the production and consumption of street-level imagery, including new actors, platforms, technologies, and data production approaches. Then, engaging with consumer-grade imaging technologies and the notion of do-it-yourself urbanism, this paper develops a DIY street view approach as one new mode of producing street-level imagery. Drawing on the findings of a pilot study, the paper considers key practical issues for street-view production, the benefits and risks of DIY approaches in relation to corporate and crowdsourced imagery initiatives, and the politics of urban representation in 360°. Findings suggest that the DIY approach offers the potential for a more “careful curation” of space in 360° street-level representations; however, there are considerations specific to this “third way” that require further attention.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)95-116
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Urban Technology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 7 Mar 2022


  • DIY imaging
  • Panoramic photography
  • Street View
  • platform urbanism
  • urban visualization

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