Creating Regions from Social Relationships

The video above accompanies interesting research, led by the MIT SENSEable City Lab, that shows how the linkages between landline calls in the UK can be used to create a “new” regional geography. The main conclusion I drew from the map is the fact that people phone those nearest to them more than those further away; but this is unsurprising. To me, the map is important for two reasons. Firstly, it is an excellent example of our data rich culture and our ability to use this data for meaningful analysis. Not so long ago the clustering of 12 billion phone calls would have been a laughable undertaking. The second outcome is the demonstration of the fact that we no longer need to rely on arbitrary administrative boundaries in our data analysis, we are increasingly able to create our own data-based geographies.

Thanks to Jon Reades (one of the project researchers) for alerting me to this video.