Places at the centre of a series of forces which attract.
Any system which consists of :
- a type of connection / media
- some kind of wealth which flows along the connection
- some-kind of feed-back mechanism where more succesful nodes gain more of the connections / more of the flow (PowerLaws) This is why I use the word attractive
More importantly, both Cities and Web-Communities (the clue's in the name) move Sociality, or something equally vague. That biological need for other real people. "Attention" may be one word, but doesn't quite grasp the complexity of the human sense of self/others. – GrahamLally
More importantly (?), what are the differences between these systems? In particular, I'd say that the brain doesn't fit quite the same model as the rest, because it's complex functionality has some quality other than free-flowing feedback. Admittedly, we tend towards a particular way of thinking such as an "artistic" approach vs a "scientific" approach, but on the whole, the layout of the brain is "stable", as a partially-segregated processing unit - each area doing its own thing, and feedback-clustering effects being kept to a minimum, as otherwise it wouldn't work.
In markets, I think (this is all pretty unsubstantiated... :) we see a series of particularly strong trends, as market interest flocks to already-popular (albeit in a cult kind of way) moneymaking schemes. In cities, popular places are more likely to see more people as a result, and popular roads are more likely to see more use. Google self-fulfils.
All of the above have been either brought about or re-inforced by technology - to run stock markets, to process cashflow through financial institutions, to allow more journeys to be made (especially by individuals), and to track the links between pages.
But the brain doesn't seem to do this, and is (IMHO) somewhat more "autonomous" - anarchistic, if you like. So are the other systems destined to follow their own, wave-like feedback patterns, or can they be made to act more autonomously somehow? Only I think many "leftist" or "disruptive" projects want to head towards the latter.
Hmm, Monday morning. Brain need coffee before think more. May make no sense. – GrahamLally