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Modeling Cities and Regions As Complex SystemsFrom Theory to Planning Applications$
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Roger White, Guy Engelen, and Inge Uljee

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780262029568

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262029568.001.0001

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The Fractal Forms of Urban Land Use Patterns

The Fractal Forms of Urban Land Use Patterns

(p.87) 5 The Fractal Forms of Urban Land Use Patterns
Modeling Cities and Regions As Complex Systems

Roger White

Guy Engelen

Inge Uljee

The MIT Press

The complex order that characterizes cities is typically a fractal order in various respects. The edge of the urbanized area, the density of development, the route pattern of the transport system, the size distribution of land use clusters—all are fractals. This fractal structure is apparently both a requirement for and an expression of the functionality of the city; fractal dimensions are therefore useful measures of urban form. Two fractal measures have proven valuable in calibration and validation of the urban land use models: the radial dimension and the cluster size – frequency dimension. The radial dimension reveals cities to be bi-fractals, characterized by a fully developed area with a dimension of 1.90 to 1.95 and a peripheral area with a dimension of 1 to 1.3. Individual land uses also have characteristic radial dimensions, and these reveal a concentric zonation of land uses hidden within the complex land use pattern.

Keywords:   Fractal, Bi-fractal, Urban form, Radial dimension, Cluster size – frequency dimension

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