An old (2011) video from the Sante Fe institute on the research agenda on understanding the dynamics of cities. I had been interested in the biological organism and complex network metaphor in respect to cities and organizational fields, so I am a big fan of the research! The main page of the project is here.
“SFI’s Cities, Scaling, and Sustainability research effort is creating an interdisciplinary approach and quantitative synthesis of organizational and dynamical aspects of human social organizations, with an emphasis on cities. Different disciplinary perspectives are being integrated in terms of the search for similar dependences of urban indicators on population size – scaling analysis – and other variables that characterize the system as a whole. A particularly important focus of this research area is to develop theoretical insights about cities that can inform quantitative analyses of their long-term sustainability in terms of the interplay between innovation, resource appropriation, and consumption and the make up of their social and economic activity. This focus area brings together urban planners, economists, sociologists, social psychologists, anthropologists, and complex system theorists with the aim of generating an integrated and quantitative understanding of cities. Outstanding areas of research include the identification of general scaling patterns in urban infrastructure and dynamics around the world, the quantification of resource distribution networks in cities and their interplay with the city’s socioeconomic fabric, issues of temporal acceleration and spatial density, and the long-term dynamics of urban systems.”
– Santa Fe Institute
Also watch a TED talk by Geoffrey West about some of the insights on the mathematics of cities.
A little while back I came across an interesting paper with an huge set of data from Maathijs de Vaan, Balazs Vedres, and David Stark.
I have read several papers from Vedres & Stark (one of their papers is also included in the Padgett & Powell book I introduced in one of the early posts). These papers utilize very creative ways to analyze networks and also introduce the concept of ‘inter-cohesion’.
This one, however, deals with the video game industry, and provides an interesting look at networks in creative industries.
Abstract: To test the proposition that a high level of recurring cohesion and a high level of stylistic diversity can combine for successful team performance, this study constructs a dataset of the careers of 139,727 individuals who participated in project teams producing 16,507 video games between 1979 and 2009. Findings indicate that teams with more dissimilar stylistic experiences outperform teams with more homogenous backgrounds, but only for higher levels of recurring cohesion. Teams with high diversity and high social cohesion are better able to harmonize the noisy cacophony of an (otherwise) excessive plurality of voices, thereby exploiting the potential beneficial effects of cognitive diversity.
Clusters are often approached by economists and political scientists from a policy perspective. Here is a social science perspective using networks.
Research from Jason Owen-Smith (eg.2004, 2005, 2009 papers) has always been very exciting. Here he talks about clusters and their inner mechanics in respect to demographics of talent and technology.
(Additional Info: TRE Networks Roundtable and Annual Meeting, Washington, D.C., Dec., 5-7, 2012)
A great book from John Padgett and Walter W. Powell about how new organizational forms emerge. They gathered cases and research from their extensive research careers together with new cases and work from other researchers.
The famous research of Florentine historical family networks by John Padgett is now seamlessly tied into the theoretical lessons learnt from the new academic biotechnology venturing and bio-pharmaceutical business clusters in the U.S.
To understand how new markets and business clusters emerge, and how new institutional forms take off, it is a good idea to take a look at this book. I really loved the lecture about the book; there were many small details that makes the whole story vivid and useful.