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Drawing boundaries of social interaction

Lookup NU author(s): Maarten Vanhoof



This is the final published version of a creative writing that has been published in its final definitive form by Orange Labs, 2015.

For re-use rights please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.


Beyond physical borders, “invisible borders” limit interaction between specific groups of people. These “social borders” are historically and socially constructed and result from a wide range of factors such as cultural differences, absence of connecting infrastructure, or even rivalry and prejudice. Insights into such borders can help us understand the social, civic, and commercial interactions that do or do not exist, in contemporary nations. As studying the phenomena that lead to these borders is highly complex, simply defining and mapping these borders is a first step towards better governance, planning and other policy. Newly available digital records of human interaction coupled with geographic information have great potential to uncover ‘social borders’ and are therefore providing a whole new array of empirical observations for the study of this topic.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Vanhoof M, Ratti C, Smoreda Z

Publication type: Creative Writing

Publication status: Published

Journal: Uses and Value

Year: 2015

Volume: 52

Pages: 2-5

Print publication date: 01/09/2015

Acceptance date: 01/08/2015

Publisher: Orange Labs