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The Great Bro-ughnut Of New York City

Mapping tweets about bros and hipsters reveals a fascinating pattern.

Where do the bros roam in the wilds of New York City? Where do the hipsters graze upon kale smoothies and artisanal coffee? According to a new map, bros have basically taken over most of Manhattan—or at least tweets about them have.

The geographers behind the blog Floating Sheep set out to study the spaces occupied by different cultural-economic identities, as seen through social media. Also known as: where people tweet about hipsters and bros. "Although mortal enemies in the wild, we wanted to see whether domestication (via urbanization and Twitter) might cause these archetypes to adapt different grazing patterns," writes geographer Matthew Zook.

The researchers examined 12,319 tweets mentioning hipsters and 239,412 tweets mentioning bros geotaggged from the New York metropolitan area between June 2012 and March 2014. (My totally unscientific theory is that bros make a way better Twitter joke than hipsters, so they’re mentioned far more.)

There’s a distinct spatial pattern to the references of these often juxtaposed social groups. According to the data, the highest concentration of references to hipsters can be found in places like Dumbo, Prospect Park, Williamsburg, SoHo/NoHo, and near Columbia University, a pattern that reinforces "the all-too-often-commented-upon relationship between hipsters and gentrification," as Zook comments. Bros, on the other hand, seem to fill in the gaps all around hipster enclaves.

"The circular pattern of this difference gives rise to what we like to call the "bro-ughnut" of New York City, which envelops the creamy center of hipsters (perhaps made from the leftovers from the cupcake shops populating the area)," he writes.

Mmm, delicious hipsters?

Read more from Floating Sheep, where you can also see where bankers and artists hang out. A version of Zook’s post is forthcoming in the journal Cityscapes, but definitely check out the blog for great use of non-academic footnotes.

[H/T: Richard Florida]

[Images: Doughnut and Dude via Shutterstock]

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  • the fundamental issue with this study is that rarely does anyone self identify with a sweeping label like 'bro' / 'hipster' - it's often used in the pejorative, by people of opposing values. Therefore you can't really count on any real conclusions.