Metrics and methods for social distance
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Urban Studies and Planning.
Joseph Ferreira, Jr.
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Distance measures are important for scientists because they illustrate the dynamics of geospatial topologies for physical and social processes. Two major types of distance are generally used for this purpose: Euclidean Distance measures the geodesic dispersion between fixed locations and Cost Distance characterizes the ease of travel between two places. This dissertation suggests that close inter-place ties may be an effect of human decisions and relationships and so embraces a third tier of distance, Social Distance, as the conceptual or physical connectivity between two places as measured by the relative or absolute frequency, volume or intensity of agent-based choices to travel, communicate or relate from one distinct place to another. In the spatial realm, Social Distance measures have not been widely developed, and since the concept is relatively new, Chapter 1 introduces and defines geo-contextual Social Distance, its operationalization, and its novelty. With similar intentions, Chapter 2 outlines the challenges facing the integration of social flow data into the Geographic Information community. The body of this dissertation consists of three separate case studies in Chapters 3, 4 and 5 whose common theme is the integration of Social Distance as models of social processes in geographic space. Each chapter addresses one aspect of this topic. Chapter 3 looks at a new visualization and classification method, called Weighted Radial Variation, for flow datasets. U.S. Migration data at the county level for 2008 is used for this case study. Chapter 4 discusses a new computational method for predicting geospatial interaction, based on social theory of trip chaining and communication. U.S. Flight, Trip and Migration data for the years 1995-2008 are used in this study. Chapter 5 presents the results of the tandem analysis for social networks and geographic clustering. Roll call vote data for the U.S. House of Representatives in the 111th Congress are used to create a social network, which is then analyzed with regards to the geographic districts of each congressperson.
Thesis (Ph. D.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Urban Studies and Planning, 2011.Cataloged from PDF version of thesis.Includes bibliographical references (p. 171-189).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Urban Studies and Planning
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Urban Studies and Planning.