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Quantifying segregation in an integrated urban physical-social space

Our knowledge of how cities bring together different social classes is still limited. Much effort has been devoted to investigating residential segre- gation, mostly over well-defined social groups (e.g. race). Little is known of how mobility and human communications affect urban social integration. The dynamics of spatial and social-network segregation and individual variations along these two dimensions are largely untapped. In this article, we put forward a computational framework based on coupling large-scale information on human mobility, social-network connections and people’s socio-economic status (SES), to provide a breakthrough in our understand- ing of the dynamics of spatio-temporal and social-network segregation in cities. Building on top of a social similarity measure, the framework can be used to depict segregation dynamics down to the individual level, and also provide aggregate measurements at the scale of places and cities, and their evolution over time. By applying the methodology in Singapore using large-scale mobile phone and socio-economic datasets, we find a relatively higher level of segregation among relatively wealthier classes, a finding that holds for both social and physical space. We also high- light the interplay between the effect of distance decay and homophily as forces that determine communication intensity, defining a notion of charac- teristic ‘homophily distance’ that can be used to measure social segregation across cities. The time-resolved analysis reveals the changing landscape of urban segregation and the time-varying roles of places. Segregations in physical and social space are weakly correlated at the individual level but highly correlated when grouped across at least hundreds of individuals. The methodology and analysis presented in this paper enable a deeper understanding of the dynamics of human segregation in social and physical space, which can assist social scientists, planners and city authorities in the design of more integrated cities.

Journal Royal Society Interface, 2019

External authors: Carlo Ratti (MIT), Alexander Belyi (MIT - SMART Singapore), Yang Xu (Hong Kong Polytechnic University)
IIT authors:

Type: Contributo in rivista non ISI
Field of reference: Computer Science & Engineering

File: 20191120_Xu-etal_QuantifyingSegregation_RoyalSociety.pdf

Activity: Algoritmica per reti wireless