Urban geographical patterns of the relationship between mobile communication, social networks and economic development – the case of Hungary

Keywords: ICT, mobile communication, cell data, 'Apple Index', social media, intercity networks


In the post-industrial age, the transformation of urban networks and urban regions was fundamentally influenced by the rapid spread of infocommunication technologies (ICT) and the Internet. People share information in their daily lives with the help of various ICT devices and ultimately generate georeferenced data that could obtain important information about people’s use of space, spatial movement and social connections. The main aim of the study is to explore the urban geographical and spatial impacts of ICT and social media networks in Hungarian cities. We focus on drawing territorial and settlement hierarchical patterns and clusters based on the mobile communication and online social network relationship data of Hungarian cities. The paper highlights the relationship between the intensity of mobile communication and the density and expansion of intercity social relations and the settlements’ level of economic development, respectively. The methodology is based on mobile phone call detail record (CDR) analysis and intercity network analysis of social media activities. Our findings suggest that different communication networks follow divergent spatial patterns in Hungary. The traditional East–West dichotomy of the Hungarian spatial divide is still reflected in mobile communication, but intercity clusters based on social media activities are usually aligned to the borders of administrative structures. In several cases, we were able to identify strong intercity links between settlements with a similar level of economic development of the mesolevel spatial structure that traverses over different counties and regional borders. Results on social and demographic issues suggest that ‘generation Z’ could play a key role in dampening the social and economic tensions created by the digital divide in the long run. Using a multidimensional explanatory model, we could demonstrate the growing interconnectedness between digital networks and economic development.


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How to Cite
EgedyT., & SágváriB. (2021). Urban geographical patterns of the relationship between mobile communication, social networks and economic development – the case of Hungary. Hungarian Geographical Bulletin, 70(2), 129-148. https://doi.org/10.15201/hungeobull.70.2.3
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