City Building Networks
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Poverty, Disease, and the Ecology of Complex Systems

Understanding why some human populations remain persistently poor remains a significant challenge for both the social and natural sciences. The extremely poor are generally reliant on their immediate natural resource base for subsistence and suffer high rates of mortality due to parasitic and infectious diseases. Economists have developed a range of models to explain persistent poverty, often characterized as poverty traps, but these rarely account for complex biophysical processes. In this Essay, we argue that by coupling insights from ecology and economics, we can begin to model and understand the complex dynamics that underlie the generation and maintenance of poverty traps, which can then be used to inform analyses and possible intervention policies. To illustrate the utility of this approach, we present a simple coupled model of infectious diseases and economic growth, where poverty traps emerge from nonlinear relationships determined by the number of pathogens in the system. These nonlinearities are comparable to those often incorporated into poverty trap models in the economics literature, but, importantly, here the mechanism is anchored in core ecological principles. Coupled models of this sort could be usefully developed in many economically important biophysical systems—such as agriculture, fisheries, nutrition, and land use change—to serve as foundations for deeper explorations of how fundamental ecological processes influence structural poverty and economic development.


Ngonghala CN, Pluciński MM, Murray MB, Farmer PE, Barrett CB, et al. (2014) Poverty, Disease, and the Ecology of Complex Systems. PLoS Biol 12(4): e1001827. http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.1001827


Via Complexity Digest
Liz Rykert's insight:

Essence of this work: In this Essay, we argue that by coupling insights from ecology and economics, we can begin to model and understand the complex dynamics that underlie the generation and maintenance of poverty traps, which can then be used to inform analyses and possible intervention policies.


Important insights for cities....

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Paige's curator insight, August 6, 2014 2:54 PM

GREAT MINOR DEGREE OPTIONS, anthropology/ demography

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Participatory City

Participatory City | City Building Networks | Scoop.it

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Liz Rykert's insight:

Looks like a great study from the UK on the value of engaging local citizens in neighbourhoods and communities. Thanks June Holley for the scoop!

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Chicago Releases User-Friendly Open Data Tool

Chicago Releases User-Friendly Open Data Tool | City Building Networks | Scoop.it
Users can look up mountains of public records, no technical expertise required.
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Community Engagement Matters (Now More Than Ever) (SSIR)

Community Engagement Matters (Now More Than Ever) (SSIR) | City Building Networks | Scoop.it
In adopting data-driven practices, leaders must avoid the temptation to act in a top-down manner. Instead, they should design and implement programs in ways that engage community members directly in the work of social change.
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Living Systems Lessons for Social Change Networks

Living Systems Lessons for Social Change Networks | City Building Networks | Scoop.it
A couple of years ago, I was turned on to the work of Louise Diamond. Diamond has been bringing insights from the dynamics of complex systems to peace building work for many years. Her efforts conn…
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The Tactics of Trust (SSIR)

The Tactics of Trust (SSIR) | City Building Networks | Scoop.it
Participants in a large, complex collaboration can build a capacity for finding common ground—and it doesn’t have to take years.
Liz Rykert's insight:

Seeing the whole system is a key part to building trust according to the authors. Worth the quick read of you are engaged in collaborative work (and who isn't these days?!)

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Community Capital: The value of connected communities - RSA

Community Capital: The value of connected communities - RSA | City Building Networks | Scoop.it
Liz Rykert's insight:

A Five Year study released Oct 29 looking at work in 7 communities that sought to connect people in social networks to build community capital.Here is quick summary of the key findings: 


"Social relationships have a value. The activities and research presented in this report demonstrate that through working with communities this value can be grown by connecting people to one another in their local areas. We argue that investing in interventions which build and strengthen networks of social relationships will generate four kinds of social value or ‘dividend’ shared by people in the community:

1. A wellbeing dividend. Our research suggests that social connectedness correlates more strongly with wellbeing than social or economic characteristics such as long term illness, unemployment or being a single parent.

2. A citizenship dividend. There is latent power within local communities that lies in the potential of relationships between people, and it can be activated through the methods that we advocate in this paper.

3. A capacity dividend. Concentrating resources on networks and relationships, rather than on the ‘troubled’ individual as an end-user can have beneficial effects which ripple out through social networks, having positive effects on people’s children, partners, friends and others.

4. An economic dividend. There is evidence that investing in interventions which build social relationships can improve employability, improve health (which has positive economic impacts) and create savings in health and welfare expenditure."

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Building the Field of Community Engagement - Nexus Community Partners

Building the Field of Community Engagement - Nexus Community Partners | City Building Networks | Scoop.it
PUBLICATIONS

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MIT-Singapore design center creates free software tool to analyze cities as spatial networks

MIT-Singapore design center creates free software tool to analyze cities as spatial networks | City Building Networks | Scoop.it

Network analysis — the mathematical analysis of relationships between elements or actors in a complex system — has become popular among transportation planners and spatial analysts, but its use remains relatively limited among architects and urban designers, whose day-to-day work demands more visioning than analysis.
Now, researchers at the joint MIT-SUTD International Design Center (IDC) have created a free network analysis plugin for Rhinoceros 3-D modeling software, one of the most popular software platforms among architects and urban designers. The new Urban Network Analysis (UNA) plugin enables urban planners and architects to describe spatial patterns of cities using mathematical network analysis methods.


http://newsoffice.mit.edu/2015/mit-singapore-design-center-free-software-tool-analyze-cities-spatial-networks-0616


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Liz Rykert's insight:

Looks like an amazing tool to support cities.

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Using Network Mapping to Build Thriving Communities | Neighborhood Economics


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Building resilience: what organisations can learn from social ecologists

Building resilience: what organisations can learn from social ecologists | City Building Networks | Scoop.it

I have been blessed with a very diverse network, which includes among others many renowned thinkers and scientists in the field of social-ecological systems. I am therefore exposed to thinking tha...


Via Alexis Assimacopoulos
Liz Rykert's insight:

Nice short set of principles. They need expansion but still worth the read.

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Can we neglect the multi-layer structure of functional networks?

 Nt to find a low tech way to do this!

Functional networks, i.e. networks representing dynamic relationships between the components of a complex system, have been instrumental for our understanding of, among others, the human brain. Due to limited data availability, the multi-layer nature of numerous functional networks has hitherto been neglected, and nodes are endowed with a single type of links even when multiple relationships coexist at different physical levels. A relevant problem is the assessment of the benefits yielded by studying a multi-layer functional network, against the simplicity guaranteed by the reconstruction and use of the corresponding single layer projection. Here, I tackle this issue by using as a test case, the functional network representing the dynamics of delay propagation through European airports. Neglecting the multi-layer structure of a functional network has dramatic consequences on our understanding of the underlying system, a fact to be taken into account when a projection is the only available information.


Can we neglect the multi-layer structure of functional networks?
Massimiliano Zanin

http://arxiv.org/abs/1503.04302


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Johannes van der Pol's curator insight, March 23, 2015 9:47 AM

An Innovation network is the perfect candidate to be analyzed as  a multilayered network. The  channels that allow knowledge to transfer between between cooperating firms are numerous (patents, social links, licences, technology swaps, employee mobility and many more). Can't wait to put this into practise.

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Urban Acupuncture: Jaime Lerner

Urban Acupuncture

~ Jaime Lerner (author) More about this product
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During his three terms as mayor of Curitiba, Brazil in the 1970s and ‘80s, architect and urbanist Jaime Lerner transformed his city into a global model of the sustainable and livable community. From the pioneering Bus Rapid Transit system to parks designed to catch runoff and reduce flooding and the creation of pedestrian-only zones, Lerner has been the driving force behind a host of innovative urban projects. In more than forty years of work in cities around the globe, Lerner has found that changes to a community don’t need to be large-scale and expensive to have a transformative impact—in fact, one block, park, or a single person can have an outsized effect on life in the surrounding city.
In Urban Acupuncture, Lerner celebrates these “pinpricks” of urbanism—projects, people, and initiatives from around the world that ripple through their communities to uplift city life. With meditative and descriptive prose, Lerner brings readers around the world to streets and neighborhoods where urban acupuncture has been practiced best, from the bustling La Boqueria market in Barcelona to the revitalization of the Cheonggyecheon River in Seoul, South Korea. Through this journey, Lerner invites us to re-examine the true building blocks of vibrant communities—the tree-lined avenues, night vendors, and songs and traditions that connect us to our cities and to one another.
Urban Acupuncture is the first of Jaime Lerner’s visionary work to be published in English. It is a love letter to the elements that make a street hum with life or a neighborhood feel like home, penned by one of the world’s most successful advocates for sustainable and livable urbanism.


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Meta-principles for developing smart, sustainable, and healthy cities

Policy directives in several nations are focusing on the development of smart cities, linking innovations in the data sciences with the goal of advancing human well-being and sustainability on a highly urbanized planet. To achieve this goal, smart initiatives must move beyond city-level data to a higher-order understanding of cities as transboundary, multisectoral, multiscalar, social-ecological-infrastructural systems with diverse actors, priorities, and solutions. We identify five key dimensions of cities and present eight principles to focus attention on the systems-level decisions that society faces to transition toward a smart, sustainable, and healthy urban future.

 

Meta-principles for developing smart, sustainable, and healthy cities
Anu Ramaswami, Armistead G. Russell, Patricia J. Culligan, Karnamadakala Rahul Sharma, Emani Kumar

Science  20 May 2016:
Vol. 352, Issue 6288, pp. 940-943
http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.aaf7160 


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Connectography

Connectography | City Building Networks | Scoop.it
From the visionary bestselling author Parag Khanna comes a bracing and authoritative guide to a future shaped less by national borders than by global supply chains, a world in which the most connected powers—and people—will win.
Liz Rykert's insight:

Taken to the global scale Parag Khanna describes the future of the world not a group of sovereign states but one of connected cities. Collective investment in the infrastructure that connects us has led to powerful local regions that are now finding peace and prosperity through being connected to one another (think Southeast Asian Countries) rather than fighting over borders. Watch the TED talk  - kind of like Collective Impact on steroids.

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we don’t need better leaders

we don’t need better leaders | City Building Networks | Scoop.it

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This is great!

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june holley's curator insight, February 5, 9:56 AM

This is great!

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MaRS Global Leadership: Culture as Urban Acupuncture

At this Global Leadership event, Tim Jones, CEO Artscape, shares how engaging culture can be a powerful resource in city-building.
Liz Rykert's insight:

Great talk by Tim Jones form Artscape on Culture as Urban Acupuncture 

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Deepening Network Practice for Social Change : Interaction Institute for Social Change

Deepening Network Practice for Social Change : Interaction Institute for Social Change | City Building Networks | Scoop.it
Liz Rykert's insight:

Great short read from the Interaction Institute for Social Change and Curtis Ogden. Includes additional relevant resources at the end of the article. thx @curtisogden @june holley

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How Online Communities Became Central To How We Work

How Online Communities Became Central To How We Work | City Building Networks | Scoop.it
Communities make just about everything we do today in our organizations better. That was essentially the message at FeverBee SPRINT last week in San Francisco, a confab of several hundred online co...

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What is undiscussable in your culture?

What is undiscussable in your culture? | City Building Networks | Scoop.it
What is “undiscussable” in your culture? Welcome to the heart of organizational culture! Undiscussables can help to understand and change culture.

Via Alexis Assimacopoulos
Liz Rykert's insight:

This is a great article about a simple approach that helped people get to the heart of organizational culture. Short and useful.

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Ron McIntyre's curator insight, October 15, 2015 11:32 AM

Every culture has a number of undiscussable topics that are avoided at all cost. In a company this can be deadly for the careers of everyone involved.

HR Muse's curator insight, October 16, 2015 8:34 AM

The concept of 'authenticity' in organisations has grown in prominence in recent years - i.e. does everyday behaviour of employees, managers and leaders align with espoused values published internally and externally in the organisation? In other words, does the organisation do what it says on the tin?


A lack of congruence between reality and espoused values inevitably risks employee engagement and levels of discretionary behaviour. In a time when employee trust in senior management and business leaders has been eroded and re-engaging employees is high on the list of many employees,  the need for authenticity therefore remains paramount.


This blog post in Leadership & Change by Terri Kruzan piqued my interest citing Harvard and their experiences of discussing the 'undiscussables' - those elements of organisational culture that prevail but no-one likes to talk about . 

 

Ask yourself 'what are the undiscussables in my organisation? How long have they been there? Why do they exist? What is their impact? How might I as an HR practitioner help surface them within the organisation?

 

Then you might establish just how authentic your organisation is.

Ian Berry's curator insight, October 16, 2015 7:52 PM

Key action in all the best workplaces - a willingness to discuss the undiscussables.

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Visualizing signatures of human activity in cities across the globe

The availability of big data on human activity is currently changing the way we look at our surroundings. With the high penetration of mobile phones, nearly everyone is already carrying a high-precision sensor providing an opportunity to monitor and analyze the dynamics of human movement on unprecedented scales. In this article, we present a technique and visualization tool which uses aggregated activity measures of mobile networks to gain information about human activity shaping the structure of the cities. Based on ten months of mobile network data, activity patterns can be compared through time and space to unravel the "city's pulse" as seen through the specific signatures of different locations. Furthermore, the tool allows classifying the neighborhoods into functional clusters based on the timeline of human activity, providing valuable insights on the actual land use patterns within the city. This way, the approach and the tool provide new ways of looking at the city structure from historical perspective and potentially also in real-time based on dynamic up-to-date records of human behavior. The online tool presents results for four global cities: New York, London, Hong Kong and Los Angeles.


Visualizing signatures of human activity in cities across the globe
Dániel Kondor, Pierrick Thebault, Sebastian Grauwin, István Gódor, Simon Moritz, Stanislav Sobolevsky, Carlo Ratti

http://arxiv.org/abs/1509.00459


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Responding to complexity in socio-economic systems: How to build a smart and resilient society?

The world is changing at an ever-increasing pace. And it has changed in a much more fundamental way than one would think, primarily because it has become more connected and interdependent than in our entire history. Every new product, every new invention can be combined with those that existed before, thereby creating an explosion of complexity: structural complexity, dynamic complexity, functional complexity, and algorithmic complexity. How to respond to this challenge? And what are the costs?


Responding to complexity in socio-economic systems: How to build a smart and resilient society?
Dirk Helbing

http://arxiv.org/abs/1504.03750


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Innovation Excellence | To Change your Organization, Change the Way you Bring Change

Innovation Excellence | To Change your Organization, Change the Way you Bring Change | City Building Networks | Scoop.it
The most effective approach to change does not start or end in the C-suite. It happens at the heart of the organization, where mid-level managers and their teams build the momentum to implement and lead change. Executives initiate and support change, the rest of the organization lead change.
Liz Rykert's insight:

I found this article from Innovation Excellence right up my alley. It describes the approach we have been taking with hospitals and other large organizations in clear and simple language.


I think you will find the reasons they cite for why people don't like change efforts will resonate. 


In essence the article describes the need to tap everyone in an organization, to everyone as a change agent. 

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Network Literacy: Essential Concepts and Core Ideas

Network Literacy: Essential Concepts and Core Ideas | City Building Networks | Scoop.it

Network science is a significant pathway into understanding many kinds of Big Data. Since its inceptions during the late 20th century it has been increasing its relevance to people's everyday life. Networks can help us to make sense of this increasingly complex world, making it a useful literacy for people living in the 21st century.


https://sites.google.com/a/binghamton.edu/netscied/teaching-learning/network-concepts 


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Brain Science: Can Training Change Your Corporate Culture? by Art Kohn : Learning Solutions Magazine

Some scandalous questions: What are the odds that your eLearning, by itself, will succeed at changing behavior? Put
another
way, “Does education matter?” Will teaching people new information really get them to behave in new ways? Art reveals
some research that lay hidden for years, although it opens insights into what does and does not cause groups of people to
change their behavior.
Liz Rykert's insight:

Love this article - which looks like the first in a series about changing behaviour in workplaces. It digs into some great research on how effective training programs are at *not* changing behaviour. Worth the read. 

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