Urban road networks that encourage visitor interaction can build community

city ​​network

Available: Pixabay / CC0 Public Domain

Are good spatial nets made for good neighbors? There are reports that they are working, including Paige Bollen, a six -year political science graduate at MIT. Bollen cells are nothing but the body, a part of the built environment where we are connected. His research into the towns showed ways to bring people together or separate them as important as they knew each other as friend or foe.

“We all live in street nets, and we see different kinds of people,” Bollen said. “Just going to others to provide information reflects our political and social thinking on the world.” In his medical research, Bollen describes the nature of the physical environment in deciding whether those regular encounters are characterized by doubt or anger, and other factors that lead to association and resentment. be patient.

Through his in -depth research on the migration of people to urban communities in Ghana and South Africa, Bollen points out that even in diverse communities, “when people often congregate, “Even if that relationship is normal, they can build the knowledge that will lead to the same team and positive results,” he said. “My argument is that frequent communication, facilitated by road nets, can be comforting to people with different backgrounds to themselves,” he said.

Map of city networks

Bollen’s case for the need for communication stems from his quest for a number of related questions: Why do people in the city who treat other races with malice and economic jealousy. How can you reduce the fears that may arise from differences? How do the arrangement of the atmosphere and the built environment affect the relationships between people?

While other scientific research has shown that there are weak relationships in social groups, including social interactions that increase resentment, Bollen found that there are many examples of “social cohesion. Inter -racial integration into inclusive communities. ” He was involved in the work of psychologist Stanley Milgram, whose 1972 study showed that strangers were often seen in familiar places – not anonymous or threatening.

He therefore began to better understand how “the constructed environment of a community and its demographics creates different kinds of relationships between community groups.”

With the support of the MIT Global Diversity Lab and MIT GOV / LAB, Bollen has begun developing measures of interaction in cities in Ghana and South Africa. He uses road network data to predict trends in patterns of the built environment and then combines these measurements with movement data on the actual movement of people.

“I’ve created a lot of data for each side of these cities, to determine the central nodes where a lot of people go,” he said. He combined this data with statistical data to determine which community groups would use statistical data about their position on a road network. He refers to these forms of communication as outcomes, such as inter -ethnic relations in Ghana and the electoral system in South Africa.

“It’s my evaluation [in Ghana] “Showing places that are more diverse and more people walking around, we see more connections between people and more interaction within communities. in community development activities, ”he said.

In an interactive survey conducted on Facebook with 1,200 subjects, Bollen asked Accra residents if they would help the nation’s uneducated people in need with a financial gift. He found that giving such help was strongly associated with frequent relationships. “It kind of helped when people believed they would see this person again, even though they didn’t know the person in trouble very well,” Bollen said. “They thought if they helped, they could trust the character of this man in the future.”

For Bollen, it is the “strong power of the stomach” for his hypothesis that frequency builds citizenship, because frequency provides knowledge and drives hopes, which is what can reduce ignorance and fear of others. “

In a study in South Africa, a nation that is heavily criticized for anti-immigrant violence, Bollen investigates whether the frequency of harassment reduces confidence in foreigners. Using his detailed maps, 1.1 billion different phone numbers, and election data, he finds that frequent contact times with visitors are associated with low support for voting on the anti -voting side. -immigrants.

The love of places and places

Bollen did not intend to become a political scientist. The daughter of the two educators, “she thought of becoming a data scientist.” But he “always liked why people do certain things and the nature of these macro models.”

As a junior at Tufts University he became interested in world affairs. But her school work in 2013 teaching women -only cars in Delhi, India’s metro system, proved to be formative. “I interviewed women for a month, to talk to them about these cars so they could participate in public life,” she recalls. Another project on freeways in Cape Town, South Africa, delved deeper into the questions of public awareness. “I left college thinking about mobility and publicity, and I realized I had a passion for global information systems,” he said.

A gig with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to improve 911 emergency service – improving and cleaning up geolocations of locations using Google Street View – rekindled his interest. “It’s hard work, but I know you can really understand a place, and how people move, from these pictures.” Bollen began to consider a career in urban planning.

He then spent two years as a researcher at MIT GOV / LAB which took Bollen into the political science field. Working with Lily Tsai, Ford’s Professor of Political Science, at civil society organizations in the developing world, Bollen realized that “political science is not what I think,” he said. “You can bring psychology, economics, and sociology into political thinking.” Her decision to enter the doctoral program was simple: “I knew and loved the people I worked with at MIT.”

Bollen did not regret that decision. “Everything I wanted to be included in my dissertation,” he said. Because of the illness, there were more and more questions about the air, movement, and attachment. “I shifted my research approach from asking people about differences and inequalities between races, to using social and environmental knowledge to measure these kinds of things. . “

She sees some requests for her work, working with civil society organizations in communities affected by the nation or others “to rethink what we see. and when it comes to communication, to compete with some of the norms that we think we already know. “

Moving into the final stages of his dissertation, which he hoped would be published as a book, Bollen also enjoyed teaching comparative politics to low -income students. “It’s a lot of fun to interact with them, and strengthen their argument,” he said. As long as he earns his Ph.D., this helps him “enjoy his day -to -day work.”


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Directions: Urban street networks that encourage encounters among visitors build citizenship (2022, April 14) Retrieved 14 April 2022 from https://phys.org/news/ 2022-04-urban-street-networks-encounters-strangers.html

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