The Professional Geographer (2007) 59(4): 434-446.

Mobile Communications, Social Networks,
and Urban Travel: Hypertext as a New Metaphor
for Conceptualizing Spatial Interaction

Mei-Po Kwan

Abstract: The widespread use of mobile communications is leading to new practices in our family life and social life, and these changes have significant implications for the study of urban travel. Because of the adoption of new modes of space-time coordination, changing time use and increasing mobility, changing use of existing urban nodes, the blurring of the boundaries between home and work, the importance of social networks and social capital, and the shift to person-to-person connectivity, the spatial structure and processes of interaction among individuals have become much more complicated in thise age of mobile communications. Static spatial frameworks based on fixed points (e.g., home or workplace) and distances among them are no longer adequate for understanding urban travel. The study of urban travel now needs new conceptualizations and new methodologies.

Key Words: activity patterns, mobile communications, social networks, spatial interaction, urban travel.

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