1981 volume 8(4) pages 449 – 475

Cite as:
Spooner R, Batty M, 1981, "Networks of urban systems analysts" Environment and Planning B 8(4) 449 – 475

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Networks of urban systems analysts

R Spooner, M Batty

Received 5 June 1981, in revised form 4 October 1981

Abstract. A framework for generating social networks is first presented and then illustrated by means of the attitudes towards urban systems analysis elicited from a group of experts in this field. The framework is based upon the notion of constructing networks from relations on two different sets of elements, and from this approach emerges the idea of primal and dual social networks. Such networks have close parallels in the structural analysis of social relations known as Q-analysis developed by Atkin (1974), and thus it is suggested that this analysis be used to implement the formal theory in empirical terms. The data set used was collected at a meeting of urban systems analysts held in Oxford in 1980, and this consists of the attitudes of a set of sixteen analysts towards the importance of various factors and fields affecting the development of this area. From the data, it is possible to derive a variety of networks: primal networks relating actors to one another, and duals relating factors and fields. Q-analysis is used to examine the resulting structures and this reveals that the well-known hypothesis of strong consensus in such expert groups is borne out. There is little structural differentiation between actors, but considerable differentiation among factors and fields. In conclusion, certain directions for future research are established.

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