This paper explores the problem of fragmenting social networks enabled by spatial distancing between distinct socioeconomic classes. Such fragmentation is evidenced by the experience of urban sprawl without population growth. We develop a prototype simulation model to examine the spatial dynamics of social network evolution in the face of neighborhood migration. This model draws upon the small world analogy by using an initial template of connections that are “rewired” over time. Spatially, connections are established for neighborhood proximity. Socially, connections are added based upon similarity of economic class. Migration patterns thus affect the probability of rewiring social connections. In effect, the probability of rewiring becomes endogenous as the network evolves over time. Analyses are conducted to explore the relative cohesiveness of the emergent community networks, and the income differentials between neighborhoods. The development of this abstract model is discussed in relation to further application and calibration to a real-world case community.
Example Template for a Spatial Social Network