This article can be found in the current issue of the Journal of Urban Affairs regarding Cities, Networks, and Urban Policy.
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Using urban networks to gain new insight into old questions: Community, economy, bureaucracy, by Zachary Neal, Ben Derudder & Xingjian Liu
This special issue of the Journal of Urban Affairs brings together a series of 10 papers that illustrate the range of ways that networks can be used to better understand cities and communities. They employ a wide range of network methods, in a diverse sample of places, at different scales, to answer thorny questions in urban studies. However, together they highlight how network approaches can shed new light on three broad areas of urban inquiry: the nature of community in urban areas, the role of scale and form in urban economic development, and the potential for coordination in fragmented and polycentric regions. In this synthesizing paper, we use these papers to explore how a network approach offers new ways of thinking about these issues. We also use them to guide reflection on two questions: are networks an essential concept in the urban study toolkit, and how can the utility of networks for urban studies be extended further?