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Territorialization of the Megacity: A Study in Exploiting Social Borders


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Physical constraints, grievances, and collective behavior in a megacity define territories, which affect dynamics of a crowd and identify targets of collective violence. Mapping these informal networks within a dense environment allow maneuver around and through crisis areas. Collective behavior and grievances drive the creation of physical territories. The physical attributes of a city can influence collective violence by allowing fluidity of influence around territories supporting collective behavior. These territories have borders and targets exploitable for military operations. Drawing borders around these territories and identifying targets allows for maneuver of security forces within an area plagued by collective violence. Knowing the ground and the social terrain keys the security forces to possible targets, available resources, and maneuverability corridors. An emphasis on understanding the social terrain of the urban battlefield is imperative to minimizing the long-term impact of conflict. If social violence is a continuation of resistance to policy though other means, then the military must understand the cause of resistance to combat the violence. Understanding of the social environment and how existing grievances and boundaries form territories allows effective maneuver on the battlefield by a security force.



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