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Urban Growth and Form: Scaling, Fractal Geometry, and Diffusion-Limited Aggregation

Batty, M; Longley, P; Fotheringham, S; (1989) Urban Growth and Form: Scaling, Fractal Geometry, and Diffusion-Limited Aggregation. Environment and Planning A: Economy and Space , 21 (11) pp. 1447-1472. 10.1068/a211447. Green open access

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Abstract

In this paper, we propose a model of growth and form in which the processes of growth are intimately linked to the resulting geometry of the system. The model, first developed by Witten and Sander and referred to as the diffusion-limited aggregation or DLA model, generates highly ramified tree-like clusters of particles, or populations, with evident self-similarity about a fixed point. The extent to which such clusters fill space is measured by their fractal dimension which is estimated from scaling relationships linking population and density to distances within the cluster. We suggest that this model provides a suitable baseline for the development of models of urban structure and density which manifest similar scaling properties. A typical DLA simulation is presented and a variety of measures of its structure and dynamics are developed. These same measures are then applied to the urban growth and form of Taunton, a small market town in South West England, and important similarities and differences with the DLA simulation are discussed. We suggest there is much potential in extending analogies between DLA and urban form, and we also suggest future research directions involving variants of DLA and better measures of urban density.

Type: Article
Title: Urban Growth and Form: Scaling, Fractal Geometry, and Diffusion-Limited Aggregation
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1068/a211447
Publisher version: http://doi.org/10.1068/a211447
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © 1989 a Pion publication printed in Great Britain. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 License (http://www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/) which permits non-commercial use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access page(http://www.uk.sagepub.com/aboutus/openaccess.htm).
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment > Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Geography
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10053169
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