Spring-Block Model Reveals Geographic Regions

When: Tuesday, April 02, 2013 at 2:00 pm
Where: DA 5th fl
Speaker: Gabriell Máte
Organization: PhD Student, Institute for Theoretical Physics, Heidelberg University
Sponsor: CCNR

Revealing and understanding the clustering of settlements into geographic regions is a problem of great social and economic relevance. Since there are few accepted methods, this is usually done empirically and with a lot of intuition. In this work we present an alternative approaches to this problem. Our method is based on the relaxation-dynamics of a spring-block system implemented on the space defined by the settlements and reveals in ahierarchical manner region-like entities at different spatial scales. It considers in an elegant manner both the spatiality of the elements and the connectivity relations among them. Spatiality is taken into account by using the geographic coordinates of the settlements, and by detecting the neighbors with the help of a Delaunay triangulation. Connectivity between neighboringsettlements are quantified using a Pearson-like correlation for the relative variation of a relevant socio-economic parameter (population size, GDP, taxpayed per inhabitant, etc.). We demonstrate the method’s efficiency on an artificially generated society and apply it for the case of the USA, Hungary and Transylvania.