Escaping from Cities during the COVID-19 Crisis: Using Mobile Phone Data to Trace Mobility in Finland

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http://hdl.handle.net/10138/327163

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Willberg, E.; Järv, O.; Väisänen, T.; Toivonen, T. Escaping from Cities during the COVID-19 Crisis: Using Mobile Phone Data to Trace Mobility in Finland. ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2021, 10, 103.

Title: Escaping from Cities during the COVID-19 Crisis: Using Mobile Phone Data to Trace Mobility in Finland
Author: Willberg, Elias; Järv, Olle; Väisänen, Tuomas; Toivonen, Tuuli
Publisher: Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute
Date: 2021-02-23
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/327163
Abstract: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) crisis resulted in unprecedented changes in the spatial mobility of people across societies due to the restrictions imposed. This also resulted in unexpected mobility and population dynamics that created a challenge for crisis preparedness, including the mobility from cities during the crisis due to the underlying phenomenon of multi-local living. People changing their residences can spread the virus between regions and create situations in which health and emergency services are not prepared for the population increase. Here, our focus is on urban–rural mobility and the influence of multi-local living on population dynamics in Finland during the COVID-19 crisis in 2020. Results, based on three mobile phone datasets, showed a significant drop in inter-municipal mobility and a shift in the presence of people—a population decline in urban centres and an increase in rural areas, which is strongly correlated to secondary housing. This study highlights the need to improve crisis preparedness by: (1) acknowledging the growing importance of multi-local living, and (2) improving the use of novel data sources for monitoring population dynamics and mobility. Mobile phone data products have enormous potential, but attention should be paid to the varying methodologies and their possible impact on analysis.


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