UCL Discovery
UCL home » Library Services » Electronic resources » UCL Discovery

The multiscalar structure of urban systems

Marin Maureira, Valentina Paz; (2023) The multiscalar structure of urban systems. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London).

[thumbnail of The multiscalar structure of urban systems V_Marin.pdf] Text
The multiscalar structure of urban systems V_Marin.pdf - Accepted Version
Access restricted to UCL open access staff until 1 September 2024.

Download (16MB)


Urban systems are inherently relational. The uneven distribution of interactions between systems of cities results in distinct spatial structures that reflect the diversity of socio-spatial processes. The varying intensities of mutual interactions give rise to hierarchically organised urban networks, where patterns of connectivity, cooperation, dependency, and exchange vary or remain constant across scales. The functioning of urban systems is therefore the result of this scalar complexity, and as such, their study cannot be done in isolation. This research explores a methodological framework for analysing the multi-scalar structure of urban systems, considering connectivity patterns between urban entities, from cities and systems of cities to the country scale. This study integrates insights from complex systems, urbanism, ecology, governance, and resilience-based principles to examine the scalar structuring process of urban systems. To accomplish this, we developed a framework primarily based on network science and entropy-based methods. These methods include hierarchical clustering and visualisation, together with scalar diversity and accessibility metrics applied to street and commuting networks. This approach provides a basis for comparative analysis of hierarchical structures and enables the study of scalar mismatches. Chile serves as a case study to analyse the relationship between the spatial scales defined by geographical jurisdictions and the street network's connectivity. Findings reveal scalar discrepancies that could lead to potential planning inefficiencies. Further, the analysis explores the diversity of spatial interaction structures by assessing the distribution of commuting flows at each scale along the hierarchy. Findings show a high variability in patterns depending on the scale of observation. This underscores the importance of the scalar contextualisation in urban analysis. This multiscalar approach expands the quantitative analysis of urban systems, enabling the definition of network categories and the identification of patterns across cities and systems of cities based on their scalar organisation. The findings of this study hold the potential to support decision-making processes in planning and policy, as well as contribute to the formulation of evidence-based urban strategies.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: The multiscalar structure of urban systems
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2023. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request.
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/10176109
Downloads since deposit
Download activity - last month
Download activity - last 12 months
Downloads by country - last 12 months

Archive Staff Only

View Item View Item