Handbook of Regional Science pp 1-23 | Cite as

# Complexity and Spatial Networks

## Abstract

The modern spatial economy has a global “networked” character that is generating important socioeconomic and political changes. In this respect, new forms of connectivity play a significant role through their dynamic and complex interplay with the economic and political driving forces behind globalization. In analyzing such impacts, it is useful to consider the tools and models that have been adopted in regional economics as well as in other disciplines. In this context, it is also necessary to reflect on complexity theory and on the models able to map out the complex interconnected spatial networks.

This chapter begins with a concise review of the most important definitions of complexity, in the light of their relations with spatial networks. There follows an exploration of the main findings from two “close” disciplines, that is, spatial economics and network science, with reference to their associated approaches and modeling tools which are able to grasp complexity from, respectively, the behavioral and the network structure viewpoint. The emerging discussion – with reference to both static and dynamic frameworks through the lens of complexity issues – indicates that (i) a formal correspondence between the fundamental spatial economic models and network models exists and (ii) this correspondence highlights the “simplicity” of the laws underlying complex spatial networks.

## Keywords

Static complexity Dynamic complexity Spatial networks Spatial economic models Network analysis## Notes

### Acknowledgment

The author wishes to thank two referees for their valuable comments.

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