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Publication Detail
Constructing cities, deconstructing scaling laws
  • Publication Type:
    Journal article
  • Publication Sub Type:
    Article
  • Authors:
    Arcaute E, Hatna E, Ferguson P, Youn H, Johansson A, Batty M
  • Publisher:
    The Royal Society
  • Publication date:
    2015
  • Journal:
    Journal of the Royal Society Interface
  • Status:
    Accepted
  • Print ISSN:
    1742-5689
  • Language:
    English
  • Keywords:
    power-laws, scaling laws, urban indicators, city boundaries
Abstract
Cities can be characterised and modelled through different urban measures. Consistency within these observables is crucial in order to advance towards a science of cities. Bettencourt et al have proposed that many of these urban measures can be predicted through universal scaling laws. We develop a framework to consistently define cities, using commuting to work and population density thresholds, and construct thousands of realisations of systems of cities with different boundaries for England and Wales. These serve as a laboratory for the scaling analysis of a large set of urban indicators. The analysis shows that population size alone does not provide enough information to describe or predict the state of a city as previously proposed, indicating that the expected scaling laws are not corroborated. We found that most urban indicators scale linearly with city size regardless of the definition of the urban boundaries. However, when non-linear correlations are present, the exponent fluctuates considerably.
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Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis
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Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis
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