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Tag Archives: cities

A recent paper (of which one of us, Carlo Ratti, is a co-author) uses anonymized data from telecommunications networks across Europe to explore how human networks change with city size. The results are striking: in large cities, people not only walk faster (a tendency recorded since the 1960s), but they also make—and change—friends faster. This phenomenon is likely rooted in the fact that, in accordance with West’s findings, the total number of human connections increases with city size. London’s eight million inhabitants regularly connect with almost twice the number of people as Cambridge’s 100,000 residents. This increasing exposure to people—and hence to ideas, activities, and even diseases—could explain the impact of city size on socioeconomic outcomes. But another tendency is also consistent across cities of all sizes: people tend to build “villages” around themselves. This behavior is quantified as the networks’ “clustering coefficient"—that is, the probability that a person’s friends will also be friends with one another—and remains extraordinarily stable across metropolitan areas. Simply put, humans everywhere are naturally inclined to live within tight-knit communities.

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We have developed a communication infrastructure perspective that privileges a grassroots understanding of how people construct and re-vitalize their residential communities, and how they go about solving everyday problems of family, health, inter-group relations, and ethnic identity. Our challenge is to make the communication infrastructure of daily life visible so that it can be employed by residents, practitioners, and policy makers to improve the quality of family and community life.

Metamorphosis at USC Annenberg

Really interesting approach to understanding how people in cities relate to and use the communication infrastructure around them, including the media.

This article explores how community-based organizations working in low-income residential neighborhoods of U.S. cities employ e-tools and social networking platforms to engage the youth. The authors interviewed representatives of community organizations that work with young adults from lower-income groups in Chicago to comprehend their actual usages and perceptions of electronic tools. These organizations facilitate a wide-range of initiatives including political and after-school education, gang-free spaces, crime intervention and prevention, and arts and media. They found that the organizations have internalized the idea of employing e-Engagement techniques to enhance communication with their constituents but use new technologies and social media in multiple ways. Many respondents posit that the presently available e-tools enable certain forms of civic engagement but require sustained resources. Also stressed is the roles of face-to-face communication, offline-meetings, and other traditional means of interaction to ensure the commitment and quality of effective engagement in this age of e-participations.

This article explores how community-based organizations working in low-income residential neighborhoods of U.S. cities employ e-tools and social networking platforms to engage the youth. The authors interviewed representatives of community organizations that work with young adults from lower-income groups in Chicago to comprehend their actual usages and perceptions of electronic tools. These organizations facilitate a wide-range of initiatives including political and after-school education, gang-free spaces, crime intervention and prevention, and arts and media. They found that the organizations have internalized the idea of employing e-Engagement techniques to enhance communication with their constituents but use new technologies and social media in multiple ways. Many respondents posit that the presently available e-tools enable certain forms of civic engagement but require sustained resources. Also stressed is the roles of face-to-face communication, offline-meetings, and other traditional means of interaction to ensure the commitment and quality of effective engagement in this age of e-participations.