Segregated networks in the city


Vinicius M. Netto [Urban Studies, UFF]

Maíra Pinheiro [Statistics and Urban modelling]

João Meirelles [Complex Systems, EPFL | École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne]

Henrique Leite [Planning, Data Science]

Mirella Furtado [Social networks, UFF]

Roberto Paschoalino [Social Theory, Analyst, Ministry of Cities]


A picture of segregated networks based on Twitter locational data: blue (low income), green (lower/middle), yellow (middle), orange (middle/higher) and red (high income) groups. The larger map shows the dominant class network.

Segregation has been one of the most persistent features of urban life and, accordingly, one of the main subjects of enquiry in urban studies. We propose a shift in the focus from the static segregation of places—where social distance is assumed rather than fully explained—to how social segregation is reproduced through embodied urban trajectories.

We aim to accomplish this by exploring the spatial behaviour of different social groups as networks of movement that constitute opportunities for co-presence. This alternative view recasts the original idea of segregation as ‘restrictions on interaction’ by concentrating on the spatiality of segregation potentially active in the circumstances of social contact and encounters in the city.

A first model applying this new theoretical approach was published in Brazil in 1999 (awarded Best Article in the 8o Encontro Nacional da ANPUR), and internationally in the 3rd Space Syntax Symposium (Netto and Krafta, 2001). After finishing my PhD on ‘Communication and Space’, I returned to this subject in order to further develop the method, along with empirical studies – in a new research team, publishing a series of articles and book chapters since 2010 (see papers below). Theory, method and empiria are put together in Part One of The Social Fabric of Cities.


Segregated networks in Niteroi, Rio de Janeiro state: blue (low income), yellow (lower/middle), and pink (middle/higher) income groups.


Segregated networks in the city | published IJURR 39 (6) (2015)

Segregated networks in the city [pre-print version] (2015)

Digital footprints in the cityscape: Finding networks of segregation through Big Data (2015)

Social networks in the city, or the urban condition of coexistence (2010)

Socio-spatial networks: segregation as a real-time phenomenon | SSS3 (2001)

Segregação dinâmica urbana | Dynamic segregation | RBEUR (1999)


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