What can graph theory tell us about resilient communities?

What can graph theory tell us about resilient communities?

Graph theory is the study of mathematical structures used to connect up nodes or points, which are linked by arcs or lines, first proposed by 18th century Swiss mathematician Leonhard Euler. The concept of connectivity seeks the minimum number of nodes that need to be removed to disconnect the remaining nodes from each other. The connectivity of a graph is an important measure of the resilience of a network.

What can we learn from this mathematical theory about resilient communities? Well, quite a lot actually.

First of all, it tells us that the more connected we are as a community, the more resilient we become. If each member of a community is connected with several other members then the strength of that community is multiplied and resilience begins to be built into the network.

Secondly, it tells us that as a community we are only as strong as our weakest link. If there is just one weak link in the chain, one member of the community that is not connected, then the entire community is weakened.

Common sense also tells us that this is true. There are many examples of incidents that have turned into tragedies because just one person, or one household or one business has not got the message that they needed to evacuate, or lockdown, or avoid the area, before it was too late.

Technology has in many ways increased the range of threats to our communities, from extended supply chains, to cyber security threats and even encrypted social networks that motivate and inform terrorist attacks. But technology is now also providing many ways to help connect communities and increase their resilience in times of stress.

Discussing how to connect communities and put into place information exchange between community members is the focus of the ‘Creating Resilient Communities’ event, organised by Alchemmy and London First. The event will discuss recent events in London, including the Westminster and Borough Market attacks and the Grenfell Tower fire, and examine what lessons for community resilience can be drawn from these tragedies.

Providing the communication tools to facilitate a rapid sharing of information during such crisis incidents is exactly the mission that Crises Control was created to address, which is why we are delighted to be able to support the event.

We will be in attendance at the event and joining in the debate. Please do come along and join us and the team at Alchemmy.

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