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Cities and regions in Britain through hierarchical percolation

Arcaute, E; Molinero, C; Hatna, E; Murcio, R; Vargas-Ruiz, C; Masucci, P; Batty, M; (2016) Cities and regions in Britain through hierarchical percolation. Royal Society Open Science 10.1098/rsos.150691. Green open access

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Abstract

Urban systems present hierarchical structures at many different scales. These are observed as administrative regional delimitations which are the outcome of complex geographical, political and historical processes which leave almost indelible footprints on infrastructure such as the street network. In this work, we uncover a set of hierarchies in Britain at different scales using percolation theory on the street network and on its intersections which are the primary points of interaction and urban agglomeration. At the larger scales, the observed hierarchical structures can be interpreted as regional fractures of Britain, observed in various forms, from natural boundaries, such as National Parks, to regional divisions based on social class and wealth such as the well-known North–South divide. At smaller scales, cities are generated through recursive percolations on each of the emerging regional clusters. We examine the evolution of the morphology of the system as a whole, by measuring the fractal dimension of the clusters at each distance threshold in the percolation. We observe that this reaches a maximum plateau at a specific distance. The clusters defined at this distance threshold are in excellent correspondence with the boundaries of cities recovered from satellite images, and from previous methods using population density.

Type: Article
Title: Cities and regions in Britain through hierarchical percolation
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1098/rsos.150691
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rsos.150691
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © 2016 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.
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/1485105
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