(Re)Shaping cities to combat inequality - CSH

(Re)Shaping cities to combat inequality


Feb 18, 2021

Geography can become a root cause for inequality when cities are built in a way that fragments social networks, finds new research with Hub participation, just published in Nature Communications.

Communities worldwide are trying to address inequality…

 

One promising approach could be to look at the design of a city, according to research with real-world data.

 

 

An international team of scientists, including Johannes Wachs (CSH Faculty) and János Kertész (CSH External Faculty), show that urban planning directly influences the formation of social networks in a city and subsequently the socio-economic equality or inequality of its citizens.

 

“We know how important social networks are for our social and economic outcomes,” Johannes explains. Social relations provide individuals with essential access to resources, information, economic opportunities and other forms of support. In towns with more evenly distributed social networks, the economic inequality tended to be much lower than in towns with highly fragmented social networks, the study shows.

 

The scientists even found a vicious cycle: the higher the fragmentation of social networks, the higher was the income inequality in a town over time.

 

On the wrong side of the tracks?

 

But where does such fragmentation come from? The researchers argue that one root cause lies in geography.

 

To test their hypothesis, the complexity scientists used a large dataset from Hungary with two million individuals from about 500 towns. The data were retrieved from iWiW, a once—and before Facebook—very popular social media platform used by nearly 40 percent of the Hungarian population.

 

“Urban sociology research says that people cannot easily build social ties when they are separated by large physical obstacles such as rivers, railways, highways or walls,” Johannes points out. “It was impressive to see this confirmed in our data: we could see evidence of strong physical boundaries in a city just by looking at its social network.”

 

Image: Income Inequality Correlates with Social Network Fragmentation in Towns

Data from two Hungarian towns, i. e. Gödöllö (b) and Ajka (c), show that economic inequality (expressed by the Gini index) is higher in Gödöllö, where social networks are strongly separated. Data were retrieved from iWiW, an early online social network once used by around 40 percent of the population in Hungary. Urban geographies turn out to play a key role in this relationship.

 

 

City design and income go hand in hand

 

“We hypothesized—and confirm it with our findings—that if valuable ideas and information cannot float freely through a city because that city is physically fragmented, which in turn causes social fragmentation, we will see inequality. We clearly see how strongly geography and income inequality are related,” says Johannes.

 

Of course, social networks do not form in a vacuum. A lot of different mechanisms influence with whom we are in regular contact. For instance, humans tend to befriend similar people (“homophily”). Friends of friends also show the tendency to become friends too (“triadic closure”). Yet, the iWiW data found geographic indicators of towns as an additional strong predictor of fragmentation in social networks.

 

The findings are of great value for city planners.

 

“You hardly can change social networks directly via public policy. You cannot force people to interact if they don’t want to,” says the CSH researcher. Yet, towns and cities frequently make decisions about the built environment that will have effects on how their inhabitants can meet and interact. “If these decisions reflect on our findings, we predict that cities will have fewer problems with inequality in the future,” Johannes concludes.

 

The publication “Inequality is rising where social network segregation interacts with urban topology” by G. Toth, J. Wachs, R. Di Clemente, A. Jakobi, B. Sagvari, J. Kertesz, and B. Lengyel appeared in Nature Communications 12, 1127 (18 Feb 2021) https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-021-21465-0

 

Press Release (English)

 

Press Release (German)


Press

Covid : l’Europe a‑t‑elle pris les bonnes mesures ? [French]


Nice Provence, May 18, 2021

News

May 17, 2021

CSH leads “Initiative for a National Medical Data Agency”

Press

Forscher fordern unabhängige nationale Medizindatenstelle


APA Science, May 17, 2021

Press

Forscher fordern unabhängige nationale Medizindatenstelle


APA Science, May 17, 2021

Press

Ausgangslage für Öffnungswoche besser als erwartet


Kronen Zeitung, May 17, 2021

Publication

A. Di Natale, M. Pellert, D. Garcia

Colexification Networks Encode Affective Meaning

Affective Science (2021)

News

May 12, 2021

Blog | Andrew Ringsmuth: “How to deal with urgent global challenges”

Publication

V.M. Ilić, J. Korbel, S. Gupta, A.M. Scarfone

An overview of generalized entropic forms

Europhysics Letters 133 (5) (2021) 50005

Publication

M. Leutner, et al.

Risk of Typical Diabetes-Associated Complications in Different Clusters of Diabetic Patients: Analysis of Nine Risk Factors

Journal of Personalized Medicine 11 (5) (2021) 328

Publication

J. Lasser, et al.

Power abuse and anonymous accusations in academia – Perspectives …

Beiträge zur Hochschulforschung, 43. Jahrgang (1–2) (2021) 48–61

News

Apr 19, 2021

The (scaling) laws of the jungle

News

Apr 16, 2021

Paul Watzlawick Ring of Honor for Stefan and Peter

Press

Covid : l’Europe a‑t‑elle pris les bonnes mesures ? [French]


Nice Provence, May 18, 2021

News

May 17, 2021

CSH leads “Initiative for a National Medical Data Agency”

Press

Forscher fordern unabhängige nationale Medizindatenstelle


APA Science, May 17, 2021

Press

Forscher fordern unabhängige nationale Medizindatenstelle


APA Science, May 17, 2021

Press

Ausgangslage für Öffnungswoche besser als erwartet


Kronen Zeitung, May 17, 2021

Publication

A. Di Natale, M. Pellert, D. Garcia

Colexification Networks Encode Affective Meaning

Affective Science (2021)

News

May 12, 2021

Blog | Andrew Ringsmuth: “How to deal with urgent global challenges”

Publication

V.M. Ilić, J. Korbel, S. Gupta, A.M. Scarfone

An overview of generalized entropic forms

Europhysics Letters 133 (5) (2021) 50005

Publication

M. Leutner, et al.

Risk of Typical Diabetes-Associated Complications in Different Clusters of Diabetic Patients: Analysis of Nine Risk Factors

Journal of Personalized Medicine 11 (5) (2021) 328

Publication

J. Lasser, et al.

Power abuse and anonymous accusations in academia – Perspectives …

Beiträge zur Hochschulforschung, 43. Jahrgang (1–2) (2021) 48–61

News

Apr 19, 2021

The (scaling) laws of the jungle

News

Apr 16, 2021

Paul Watzlawick Ring of Honor for Stefan and Peter

News

May 17, 2021

CSH leads “Initiative for a National Medical Data Agency”

News

May 12, 2021

Blog | Andrew Ringsmuth: “How to deal with urgent global challenges”

News

Apr 19, 2021

The (scaling) laws of the jungle

News

Apr 16, 2021

Paul Watzlawick Ring of Honor for Stefan and Peter

News

Apr 1, 2021

CSH Winter Lecture Series: from the Alps to Zoom

News

Mar 17, 2021

The City Formula or: It’s all about geometry!

News

Mar 12, 2021

Videos out!!! Watch the Covid-19 Measures Tracker Conference

News

Mar 5, 2021

Hostile attitudes to migrants harden by short-term exposure

News

Feb 18, 2021

(Re)Shaping cities to combat inequality

News

Jan 26, 2021

Different Lockdowns, different mobility in Austria

News

Jan 18, 2021

Stefan Thurner: “It needs digitization to fight a pandemic”

News

Jan 11, 2021

Central European University: the newest Hub member

Press

Covid : l’Europe a‑t‑elle pris les bonnes mesures ? [French]


Nice Provence, May 18, 2021

Press

Forscher fordern unabhängige nationale Medizindatenstelle


APA Science, May 17, 2021

Press

Forscher fordern unabhängige nationale Medizindatenstelle


APA Science, May 17, 2021

Press

Ausgangslage für Öffnungswoche besser als erwartet


Kronen Zeitung, May 17, 2021

Press

Forschende kritisieren Umgang mit Gesundheitsdaten als “nicht zeitgemäß”


ORF futurezone, May 16, 2021

Press

Forscher fordern unabhängige Medizindatenstelle


Wiener Zeitung, May 16, 2021

Press

Forscher fordern unabhängige nationale Medizindatenstelle


Der Standard, May 16, 2021

Press

Forscher fordern unabhängige nationale Medizindatenstelle


Der Standard, May 16, 2021

Press

Wie es mit Corona weitergeht [Print]


Kronen Zeitung: Bunt, May 15, 2021

Press

Gastronomie für mehr Tests offen


ORF Online | Wien, May 14, 2021

Press

Wien will Kellner öfter testen


Wiener Zeitung, May 14, 2021

Press

Gastro-Tests: Wien denkt über kürzere Intervalle für Kellner nach


oe24, May 14, 2021

Publication

A. Di Natale, M. Pellert, D. Garcia

Colexification Networks Encode Affective Meaning

Affective Science (2021)

Publication

V.M. Ilić, J. Korbel, S. Gupta, A.M. Scarfone

An overview of generalized entropic forms

Europhysics Letters 133 (5) (2021) 50005

Publication

M. Leutner, et al.

Risk of Typical Diabetes-Associated Complications in Different Clusters of Diabetic Patients: Analysis of Nine Risk Factors

Journal of Personalized Medicine 11 (5) (2021) 328

Publication

J. Lasser, et al.

Power abuse and anonymous accusations in academia – Perspectives …

Beiträge zur Hochschulforschung, 43. Jahrgang (1–2) (2021) 48–61

Publication

J. Lasser, M. Ernst, L. Goehring

Stability and dynamics of convection in dry salt lakes

Journal of Fluid Mechanics 917 (2021) A14

Publication

D. Andersson, S. Bratsberg, A. K. Ringsmuth, A. S. de Wijn

Dynamics of collective action to conserve a large common-pool resource

Scientific Reports 11 (2021) 9208

Publication

B. Tadic, R. Melnik

Microscopic dynamics modeling unravels the role of asymptomatic virus carriers in SARS-CoV-2 epidemics at the interplay between biological and social factors

Computers in Biology and Medicine 133 (2021) 104422

Publication

G. Papp, I. Kondor, F. Caccioli

Optimizing Expected Shortfall under an ℓ1 Constraint—An Analytic Approach

Entropy 23 (5) (2021) 523

Publication

J. Weitzer, et al.

Working from home, quality of life, and perceived productivity during the first 50-day COVID-19 mitigation measures in Austria: a cross-sectional study

International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health (2021)

Publication

J. Wachs, B. Vedres

Does crowdfunding really foster innovation? Evidence from the board game industry

Technological Forecasting and Social Change 168 (2021) 120747

Publication

G. Brandi, T. Di Matteo

Predicting multidimensional data via tensor learning

Journal of Computational Science 53 (2021) 101372

Publication

I. Iacopini, V. Latora

On the Dual Nature of Adoption Processes in Complex Networks

Frontiers in Physics 9 (2021)