Connectivity within Place and across Space

Association of American Geographers Annual Meeting (New Orleans, April 10-14, 2018)

Organizers: Lauren Andres, School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, UK);[log in to unmask]; John Bryson. City-Region Economic Development Institute, University of Birmingham, UK;[log in to unmask]

Connectivity is central to all geographic processes that link people, organizations infrastructures, technologies and places. There are many dimensions of connectivity including an individual’s friendship and work-related networks, but also organizational connectivity and various types of relationships between physical and virtual objects. Proximity and distance are two key components of connectivity, but the experience of both is mediated by technology, trust and repetition. It is timely to bring together a set of papers that explore the relationship between the different forms of connectivity and associated processes in place and across space. This includes a focus on understanding connectivity and interrelationships between people, organisations, technologies and places.

Connectivity, in relation to distance and proximity, includes economic, social, technical and political aspects. It also includes Tobler’s (1970) “first law of geography; everything is related to everything else, but near things are more related than distant things” (1970: 236). This “law” emphasizes the importance of distance. Now, current geographies of connectivity embrace technological innovations which have transformed the relations between individuals, firms, places, infrastructures and of course communications. Connectivity is thus also facilitated by the evolving relationship between satellites, technology, people and organizations. For example, where fibre optics and cables are unavailable, satellite broadband can ensure communication and connectivity via the internet, as well as, navigation. Telecommunications satellites help international business to overcome distance, as they enable the transfer of knowledge and information (for example, via video conferencing), without the need for face-to-face exchange.

Given the importance of social connectivity in economic and political processes, it is timely to explore the multiple ways in which different forms of connectivity shape economic, social and political relationships and their spatial outcomes. This session invites contributions that critically engage in understanding the relationship between different forms of connectivity, within place and across space. Papers may examine topics including, but are not restricted to:

Theoretical and methodological developments and the geographies of connectivity.
Different forms of connectivity and their impacts.
Connectivity, proximity and distance.
Technology, Smartphones and connectivity or connected lifestyles.
Connected communities, connected regions, connected cities, connected rural areas.
Connectivity and disconnections, or connectivity on the margins.
Social networks and connectivity including different forms of social embeddedness.
Connectivity and global or international processes.
Connectivity and spatial planning.
Differential connectivity.

Anyone interested in participating in the session should send an abstract conforming to the requirements of the AAG (see by October 14th to Lauren Andres ([log in to unmask]) and John Bryson ([log in to unmask]).

Tobler, W. (1970), ‘A Computer Simulating Urban Growth in the Detroit Region’, Economic Geography 46: 234-240

Dr. Lauren Andres
Senior Lecturer in Spatial Planning
GEES Urban Initiative Lead
School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences,
University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham, B15 2TT, UK
Tel : +44 (0)121 414 5021
[log in to unmask]
Personal website
Temporary Urbanism Lab
SAPER Project – South Africa Planning Education Research
ASAP-EAST AFRICA A systems approach to air pollution in East Africa

Please note I only work Monday, Tuesday and Thursday
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