Theses Master's

Social Networks Matter: A New Approach to Assess Clusters, Cultural Vitality, and Their Implications for Planning Processes in Rio de Janeiro's Historic District, Praça Tiradentes

Smith, Vanessa Monique

This research investigates organizational clustering and social networks around Praça Tiradentes in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Through a modified method of Social Network Analysis (SNA) clustering is understood at the local scale and highlights key issues surrounding the structural and territorial makeup of an area. SNA originated out of qualitative empirical investigation of small-scale social groups. With new technologies and the growth of SNA as an analytical tool its applications have been used to quantitatively understand large-scale phenomenon. This study combines social network analysis' theoretical framework for both qualitative and quantitative research and adds a new approach to SNA at the local level. Using onsite data collection and the open sourced platform, Gephi, this study not only illustrates connectivity and relations among stakeholders, it also statistically identifies differences in stakeholder's relationships and uncovers embedded clusters with a social network. The importance of organizations' activities and the interplay within the cultural sector and across sectors is elucidated, giving value and improved knowledge of the intricate and complex nature of small to medium scale agglomerations. The cultural economy as a term has been used to promulgate economic development and urban regeneration processes in cities across the globe. But many times the discussion falls short of understanding local activity, and the needs of local organizations and actors involved. Important characteristics of stakeholder connectivity, power dynamics, and knowledge sharing are revealed and give multi-layered insight into the social, political and economic activities around Praça Tiradentes. Specific recommendations are contextualized and given for the area. The ability to build, sustain, and expand agglomerations of productive local activity and avoid contrary path selections is discussed. This should add a new and rich layer to local planning and policy discussions.

Geographic Areas


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Urban Planning
Thesis Advisors
Srinivas, Smita
M.S., Columbia University
Published Here
May 21, 2012