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Network Weaving

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Regional Networks


We are seeing more and more interest in "regional economies" all over the world. One of the key players in regional economics are the mayors of the cities in that region. How are the mayors in your region connected? Are they exchanging ideas? Are they assisting each other? Or are they chasing smokestacks and high tech labs, and only competing with each other?

Above is a network map of mayors from a small country in the European Union. The population of this country is around 5 million, about the size of typical economic region. The nodes, representing each mayor, are colored by political party.

Two things are immediately apparent:
1) This is a well connected network -- no isolates, no fragments, no bottlenecks. Measuring the network, we find a short average path length -- very little delay and distortion in communication flows.
2) There is no political polarization, as currently found in the U.S. -- various colors link to various other colors.

Because of the cross-polination of knowledge and ideas, along efficient communication paths, I am betting that these mayors give their region a strong advantage.

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