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Title:Simulating the Social Dynamics of Spatial Disparity Through Neighborhood Network Evolution
Author(s):Metcalf, Sara S.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Hannon, Bruce
Department / Program:Geography
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Abstract:The concept of spatial disparity is so familiar that we often don't recognize the problems implicit in referencing the "wrong side of town" in casual conversation. But for communities expanding in area while shrinking or stagnating in population, this problem becomes even more obvious in the dichotomy between "new" and "old" or "rich" and "poor" parts of town. And the "wrong side of town" becomes even easier to avoid. While this problem of disparity is not new, neighborhoods in flux still struggle to avoid a fate of either deterioration or displacement. In research on spatial disparity, the relationship between social ties and location remains open territory. While local interactions have been studied, they have not been linked to aggregate patterns of community cohesiveness or fragmentation. Recent developments in computer simulation techniques now enable explicit representation of local community ties as they evolve over time. These developments allow systematic exploration of relationships between individual choices about where to live and social network structure, and between neighborhood and community networks. Following an overview of enabling theories and developments, I develop a spatial dynamic simulation model that enables virtual experimentation with both friendship and location choice. In the model, individuals interact over space and time in an agent-based framework, and neighborhood networks emerge from these simulated interactions. I calibrate the model to the community of Danville, Illinois, which has experienced an increase in fringe development in the absence of population growth. Heuristics for modeling individual choices draw upon field interviews with residents of a rapidly changing Danville neighborhood. Model parameters for moving behavior, individual attributes, and network structure are estimated from a variety of empirical sources. Alternative model structures are calibrated to observed migration patterns to discern the relative role of social influence on neighborhood choice. With the calibrated model, policy scenarios may be explored to help communities avoid a fate of fragmentation. The significance of this project is at once substantive, in addressing the persistence of spatial disparity in fragmenting communities, and also methodological, in bridging research domains that have not yet been functionally linked.
Issue Date:2007
Description:133 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2007.
Other Identifier(s):(MiAaPQ)AAI3269977
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-25
Date Deposited:2007

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