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On the problem of boundaries and scaling for urban street networks

Masucci, AP; Arcaute, E; Hatna, E; Stanilov, K; Batty, M; (2015) On the problem of boundaries and scaling for urban street networks. Journal of the Royal Society Interface , 12 (111) , Article 20150763. 10.1098/rsif.2015.0763. Green open access

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Abstract

Urban morphology has presented significant intellectual challenges to mathematicians and physicists ever since the eighteenth century, when Euler first explored the famous Königsberg bridges problem. Many important regularities and scaling laws have been observed in urban studies, including Zipf's law and Gibrat's law, rendering cities attractive systems for analysis within statistical physics. Nevertheless, a broad consensus on how cities and their boundaries are defined is still lacking. Applying an elementary clustering technique to the street intersection space, we show that growth curves for the maximum cluster size of the largest cities in the UK and in California collapse to a single curve, namely the logistic. Subsequently, by introducing the concept of the condensation threshold, we show that natural boundaries of cities can be well defined in a universal way. This allows us to study and discuss systematically some of the regularities that are present in cities. We show that some scaling laws present consistent behaviour in space and time, thus suggesting the presence of common principles at the basis of the evolution of urban systems.

Type: Article
Title: On the problem of boundaries and scaling for urban street networks
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1098/rsif.2015.0763
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1098/rsif.2015.0763
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © 2015 The Authors. Published by the Royal Society under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, provided the original author and source are credited.
Keywords: street networks, scaling laws, complex systems
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
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10117172
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