A part of a book.
A Small World Perspective on Urban Systems
Title of the book
Methods for Multilevel Analysis and Visualisation of Geographical Networks
Address of publication
Rozenblat C., Melançon G.
The theory of small-world networks as initiated by Watts and Strogatz (1998) has drawn new insights in spatial analysis as well as systems theory. The theoryâeuro?s concepts and methods are particularly relevant to geography, where spatial interaction is mainstream and where interactions can be described and studied using large numbers of exchanges or similarity matrices. Networks are organized through direct links or by indirect paths, inducing topological proximities that simultaneously involve spatial, social, cultural or organizational dimensions. Network synergies build over similarities and are fed by complementarities between or inside cities, with the two effects potentially amplifying each other according to the âeurooepreferential attachmentâeuro hypothesis that has been explored in a number of different scientific fields (BarabÃ¡si, Albert 1999; BarabÃ¡si A-L 2002; Newman M, Watts D, BarabÃ si A-L). In fact, according to BarabÃ¡si and Albert (1999), the high level of hierarchy observed in âeurooescale-free networksâeuro results from âeurooepreferential attachmentâeuro, which characterizes the development of networks: new connections appear preferentially close to nodes that already have the largest number of connections because in this way, the improvement in the network accessibility of the new connection will likely be greater. However, at the same time, network regions gathering dense and numerous weak links (Granovetter, 1985) or network entities acting as bridges between several components (Burt 2005) offer a higher capacity for urban communities to benefit from opportunities and create future synergies. Several methodologies have been suggested to identify such denser and more coherent regions (also called communities or clusters) in terms of links (Watts, Strogatz 1998; Watts 1999; BarabÃ¡si, Albert 1999; BarabÃ¡si 2002; Auber 2003; Newman 2006). These communities not only possess a high level of dependency among their member entities but also show a low level of âeurooevulnerabilityâeuro, allowing for numerous redundancies (Burt 2000; Burt 2005). The SPANGEO project 2005âeuro"2008 (SPAtial Networks in GEOgraphy), gathering a team of geographers and computer scientists, has included empirical studies to survey concepts and measures developed in other related fields, such as physics, sociology and communication science. The relevancy and potential interpretation of weighted or non-weighted measures on edges and nodes were examined and analyzed at different scales (intra-urban, inter-urban or both). New classification and clustering schemes based on the relative local density of subgraphs were developed. The present article describes how these notions and methods contribute on a conceptual level, in terms of measures, delineations, explanatory analyses and visualization of geographical phenomena.
Computer Imaging, Vision, Pattern Recognition and Graphics, Human Geography, Methodology of the Social Sciences, Quantitative Geography
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