Social flows are defined as the flow of people (migrants, commuters, travelers, remittances), information (e-mails, telephone calls, chats, online networks), and thoughts (through mass media, memories and social ties). We try to build social flow theory that examines why traces occur and what effect they have on place and people. We create categories, classifications, analytical methods and caveats for understanding these (inter)personal transactions within a GIS environment.
We find the hidden connections that we can't see on a map by developing a new measure of social distance: the inverse of the magnitude of social flows between places. Social distance can be short for highly-connected distant places or far for nearby places with little connectivity. We study what drives social distance and social nearness: political/administrative, natural and infrastructural boundaries, institutions (universities, military bases, governments), language, religion, social networks, or immigration status.
We look beyond measuring places by demographics like race and income to measuring their spatial connectivity patterns: the geometric extent to which places are connected to all other places. This adds and extra layer of information that can reflect the culture, diversity and idea flow of a city in a way that traditional census data cannot. We automate this process with digital technologies.
LOVE, FRIENDSHIP, FAMILY, RELATIONSHIPS IN THE CITY
We help urban planners plan for love and romance by finding the amenities that best support personal relationships. Parks, bars, Tinder, kayaking? We ask how socialization differs by what else or who else is accessible, how relationships are maintained over changing geographic circumstances, and how the landscape changes depending on the types and salience of local and distant relationships.