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Quaestiones Geographicae

The Journal of Adam Mickiewicz University

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City Shape and the Fractality of Street Patterns

Nahid Mohajeri
  • Department of Geography and Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis, University College London, UK
/ Paul Longley
  • Department of Geography and Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis, University College London, UK
/ Michael Batty
  • Department of Geography and Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis, University College London, UK
Published Online: 2012-06-21 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/v10117-012-0016-6

City Shape and the Fractality of Street Patterns

This paper discusses, first, the concepts of fractals and power laws in relation to the street patterns of the city of Dundee, East Scotland and, second, the results of the measurement of 6,004 street segments in the city. The trends of the street segments are presented through rose diagrams and show that there are two main street trends in the city: one is parallel with the coast, the other is roughly perpendicular to the coast. It is clear that the coastline largely regulates the street trend, because both the main street trends change along the city so as to be nearly coast-perpendicular and coast-parallel everywhere. The lengths of the street segments follow power laws. When presented on log-log plots, however, the result is not a single straight line but two straight lines. At the break in line slope, the fractal dimension changes from 0.88 to 2.20. The change occurs at the step length of about 100 m, indicating that the short streets belong to a population that is different from that of the longer streets.

Keywords: fractal; street network; city

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About the article


Published Online: 2012-06-21

Published in Print: 2012-06-01


Citation Information: Quaestiones Geographicae, ISSN (Print) 0137-477X, DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/v10117-012-0016-6.

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