The Relational Ecosystem of the city

The Relational Ecosystem of the city

Understand the Relational Ecosystem of your city, as it emerges from major social networks.

What do people talk about? How do they feel? How do they relate?

How do they move in the city and form communities?

With the Human Ecosystems we aim to understand the cities’ Relational Ecosystem as it emerges from social networks.

In our research process we have used this approach to try to provide answers to the following questions:

  • how can we observe, analyze and measure the relational ecosystem in a city, for how it is expressed on major social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and Foursquare?
  • how can we understand the roles people assume in the relational ecosystem (influencers, experts, hubs, bridges among different communities, amplifiers, brokers, etcetera)? And: how can we define the multiple roles which people have in the ecosystem by participating to different communities and clusters?
  • how can we understand the emotional states which are expressed in the ecosystem, according to community grouping, topics of interest, time and geography?
  • how can we create relational maps of the cultures/communities which are expressed in the ecosystem?
  • how can we observe, analyze and measure the evolution of the ecosystem?
  • how can we model the ways in which information, knowledge and emotions flow in the ecosystem?
  • how can we form strategies using the ecosystem, from multiple points of view (for example from the ones of administrations, operators and citizens), making simulations, evaluating the impacts of events and initiatives, and modeling guidelines and best practices?

To try to give answers for all these questions, and to find interesting usage scenarios we created the Human Ecosystems project. And you can read more about how we built it in the Research area of our website.

The Relational Ecosystem

The Relational Ecosystem

Of course, not the entire population uses social networks to express themselves, or even to express their actions in the public sphere. For example, we use researches like Nielsen’s State of the Media and other globally recognised reports and statistics to weight our findings and to perform a series of tasks:

  • understand what is not there, and why: why are people not using social networks? is there a divide? are there multiple divides according to age groups, cultures, locations, professions, status and more? We enact multiple methodologies to understand how people express in their daily lives, how they can use our tools to better participate to the relational ecosystem of their cities, and what can we learn from them by adding different modalities of communication and interaction to the ones we use on social networks, and how to integrate them.
  • promote literacy and adoption: one of our main interests is dedicated to diminishing all forms of digital divide, wether they depend on literacy, age, culture, location or else. The Internet has proven to be a powerful tool to promote freedoms and possibility for expression and participation, as well as a fundamental thing to know how to use, and to avoid being used by. For both these reasons we try to push in the direction of the diminishing or elimination of digital divides: we do this through education, cultural actions, by actively supporting organisations who intervene on these issues and by also using the power of imagination and language, to make sure that people desire knowledge and opportunities, because they understand their reach and possibilities, making them their own.
  • map online demographics to offline ones: as we work, we build enormous archives of the differences we find between official statistics and demographics (for example the ones found in census and in the data provided by major national statistic institutes) and the ones we find online, as a precious tool to map the online world to the offline world, to understand their differences and opportunities for intervention. This data is freely accessible to anyone: contact us if you’d like some, or if you would like to help us collect some fresh one.