Understanding resilience of socio-technical systems: A case study of mobility in Boston

Authors: Sahar Mirzaee*, Northeastern University, Qi Wang, Northeastern University
Topics: Urban and Regional Planning, Urban Geography
Keywords: socio-technical systems, mobility, resilience, network science
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/6/2019
Start / End Time: 9:55 AM / 11:35 AM
Room: Taylor, Marriott, Mezzanine Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Cities are composed of interconnected systems that are vulnerable to hazards and attacks; this notion of interconnectivity of critical infrastructure and social systems both through physical measures and information flow is more than a theoretical concept and needs careful consideration. Understanding the interdependencies and vulnerabilities of the system as a whole is vital in urban planning, specifically toward improving urban resilience in the face of climate change and man-made attacks. This study aims to understand the mobility patterns of residents of Boston from both perspectives of mobility networks structure and social characteristics, using geotagged twitter data combined with socioeconomic datasets. We first mapped the mobility network of Boston and analyzed the network in order to quantify and rank urban areas’ contributions to urban mobility resilience. Building on the analysis, we study the network communities of different social characteristics such as race and income, investigating whether different social communities move within themselves or interact with other communities. The analysis shed lights on the resilience of network communities; more interaction between communities results in a more socially resilient city, whereas disaggregated and isolated communities increase the social vulnerabilities. We aim to better identify the social communities that are at higher risk of getting disconnected from the rest of the city and understand the weaknesses of the system as a whole.    

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