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On the Edge

Perth 2019
urbannetworks.org is now hosted at www.zacharyneal.com
Perth | July 17 - 19, 2019
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On the Edge: How Economic and Social Networks connect the World’s Peripheral Cities and Regions
Network science has advanced considerably in the past 20 years toward better understanding how cities and regions are globally connected.  This work examines network connectivity through human flows (e.g. migration, tourism), infrastructures (logistics, shipping), organisational structures (firm and organisational information flows), and social networks (e.g. social media, inter-locking directorates), among others.
This three-day symposium connects leading academics, strategists, economic development practitioners, and advanced students to explore how network theory and science can be applied to novel questions of economic development, particularly in peripheral cities and regions. By combining theoretical developments with empirical research, the workshop aims to connect a range of people interested in understanding urban connectivity in a globalising world.  As the workshop is located in Perth, we will focus on the city’s uniqueness as a leader in the resources sector, combined with a focus on industry networks connecting cities outside of the world’s ‘core’ economies. Keynote lectures by leading researchers in economic geography, management, and network science will be complemented by discussion and debate regarding the potential and utility of networks in understanding economic globalisation and connectivity.

Click to view workshop program


Dr. Kirsten Martinus

Senior Research Fellow, University of Western Australia

Kirsten is a senior research fellow in the Centre of Regional Development, School of Agriculture and Environment at the University of Western Australia. She focuses on the distribution of resources (mining, energy, knowledge, wealth) and the urban and socio-economic factors that increase innovation and economic competitiveness and mitigate uneven development. She employs social network analysis to unpack flows and interactions between local economic agents and understand how cities connect at various scales. Her work balances fundamental research with applied outputs to inform strategic policy and decision making of local and state government. She played a lead role in an industry-funded research agenda (Committee for Perth) examining globalisation and economic development in Western Australia, and is the recipient of a ARC Discovery Early Career Research Award (DECRA) as well as several other competitive grants. She is a board member for the Australian Academy of Sciences National Committee for Geographic Sciences, and an editorial board member of Geographical Research.

Dr. Thomas Sigler

Senior Lecturer, University of Queensland

Dr. Sigler supervises a variety of PhD topics, ranging from urban housing to global city networks to the sharing economy. His current research projects focus on the role of Australian cities in resources-related economic networks, and on the diffusion of the sharing economy within and between cities. His work has been published in a number of international journals including Urban Studies, Regional Studies, IJURR, Cities, and Environmental and Planning A, and he is on the editorial boards of Urban Geography and Geographical Research.

Keynote Speakers

CEO, Committee for Perth

Marion Fulker

Ms. Fulker is the inaugural Chief Executive of the Committee for Perth Ltd. She took up the position in January 2007 having previously been the Executive Director of the Urban Development Institute of Australia (UDIA) WA Division.  The Committee for Perth is the leading think tank on the liveability of the Perth metropolitan area. As an evidenced based organisation, Marion has led a number of landmark Committee for Perth research projects. In the past decade, Marion has travelled extensively throughout the US, Europe, Australasia and the UK to examine how cities work. Her research focus has been on a range of topics including inner city vibrancy, urban renewal and public transport. In 2015 Marion was named as one of Australia’s 100 Women of Influence and in 2016 was the winner of the WA Telstra Business Woman of the Year in the For Purpose & Social Enterprise category. In 2017 she was named as a finalist in the Western Australia of the Year Awards. Marion’s opinions on Perth’s future are regularly sought by government, industry and the media.


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Professor of Innovation Studies, Swinburne University of Technology

Dean Lusher

Dean Lusher is a Professor of Innovation Studies at Swinburne’s Centre for Transformative Innovation. He is a social network analyst with expertise in statistical models for social networks. His expertise is specifically in the theory and application of exponential random graph models (ERGM), with an applied focus on social and technological innovation, organisational culture and system resilience. Dean is the Program Leader in the Swinburne Social Innovation Research Institute, and Associate Director of the Centre for Transformative Innovation. Dean is also a Board Member of the International Network for Social Network Analysis (INSNA) and an editorial board member for the journal 'Social Networks'.

Associate Professor, Michigan State University

Editor,  Journal of Urban Affairs   |   Evidence & Policy   |   Global Networks

Dr. Neal's work focuses on using network science to cities and multiple scales, ranging from the formation of social networks among neighbors to the evolution of economic and transportation networks between cities. He is particularly interested in developing methods for inferring hard-to-measure networks using bipartite projections, for example, inferring economic exchanges between cities when they are the locations of offices of the same companies. For his research on networks, he is the recipient of the Freeman Award from the International Network for Social Network Analysis. He is the author of more than 50 peer-reviewed articles and 3 books including the Routledge Handbook of Applied System Science (2016) and The Connected City: How Networks are Shaping the Modern Metropolis (2013). In addition to his work on urban networks, he also co-directs the Michigan School Program Information (MiSPI) project, which aims to use networks to increase the use of evidence in decision making in public schools.

Professor, Université de Lausanne

Dr. Celine Rozenblat

Dr. Rozenblat developed studies of cities’ systems at European and world scale, multinational firms networks, inter-urban dynamics, comparative urban data, mapping and visualization of networks in geography, spatial analysis. Her researches are widely directed on the relations between location evolutions and networks dynamics into cities’ systems. In order to develop these topics in a comparative point of view, she built many databases on large European and worldwide cities samples and on their networks. In particular, she has dealt since 1990 with databases on located multinational firms networks, on cities properties and evolution at the level of Europe and the World in a multi-dimensional and long temporal approach. Diachronic and dynamic studies supply materials to develop spatial and dynamic models and visualizations. For several years she deals on the relation between networks’ developments and multi-level urban processes. She participated in European projects like ESPON FOCI 2008-2011, FP7 FET Insite (2011-2013) and Multiplex (2012-2016). She also participates to the EuropeAid project with China MEDIUM (2015-2019) on medium size cities in China and launched a large project LOGIICCS (FNS 2015-2018) on the modelization of Indian and Chinese cities’ integration in global networks of multinational firms and innovation.


Senior Lecturer, University of Western Australia

Dr. Thomas Stemler

Dr Stemler is an applied mathematician at UWA working on a variety of complex systems and their dynamics. During his MSc and PhD he worked on statistical physics at the Non-linear Spin-Wave Dynamics Group, TU Darmstadt, Germany, before joining UWA in 2007 as a Research Associate. Here he investigated novel algorithms for forecasting and prediction of non-linear systems with a particular focus on weather and climate. He is now part of the Complex Data Modelling Group at UWA developing time series analysis methods including complex network approaches. Currently he works on projects including paleo-climate time series, non-uniform sampled data, complex network algorithms, self-organisation of collectives and traffic problems. 

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Professor, Waseda University

Dr. Yasuyuki Todo

Dr. Todo has been a Professor at the Graduate School of Economics, Waseda University since 2014, after serving as a Department Head at the Department of International Studies, the University of Tokyo. He is also a Faculty Fellow at Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry. He received a Ph.D. in economics from Stanford University in 2000. He has been conducting research in the fields of international economics, development economics, and applied micro-econometrics. He recently focuses on the role of social and economic networks in economic growth and resilience, using firm- and household-level data from various countries: data for supply chains of one million firms in Japan, research collaboration networks of all patent-holding firms in the world, social networks among rural households in Indonesia and Ethiopia, and business networks among small- and medium-sized enterprises in Vietnam. Using these data, he has published more than 50 academic papers in refereed journals. In addition, he has served a number of policy-advising committees in the national and local governments of Japan and was recently the lead author of a policy brief of T20 Japan 2019 submitted to G20.

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