The network analysis of urban streets: a primal approach

Sergio Porta, Vito Latora, P. Crucitti

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract

The network metaphor in the analysis of urban and territorial cases has a long tradition, especially in transportation or land-use planning and economic geography. More recently, urban design has brought its contribution by means of the `space syntax’ methodology. All these approaches – though under different terms like `accessibility’, `proximity’, `integration’, `connectivity’, `cost’, or `effort’ – focus on the idea that some places (or streets) are more important than others because they are more central. The study of centrality in complex systems, however, originated in other scientific areas, namely in structural sociology, well before its use in urban studies; moreover, as a structural property of the system, centrality has never been extensively investigated metrically in geographic networks as it has been topologically in a wide range of other relational networks such as social, biological, or technological ones. After a previous work on some structural properties of the primal graph representation of urban street networks, in this paper we provide an in-depth investigation of centrality in the primal approach as compared with the dual one. We introduce multiple centrality assessment (MCA), a methodology for geographic network analysis, which is defined and implemented on four 1-square-mile urban street systems. MCA provides a different perspective from space syntax in that: (1) it is based on primal, rather than dual, street graphs; (2) it works within a metric, rather than topological, framework; (3) it investigates a plurality of peer centrality indices rather than a single index. We show that, in the MCA primal approach, much more than in the dual approach, some centrality indices nicely capture the `skeleton’ of the urban structure that impacts so much on spatial cognition and collective behaviours. Moreover, the distributions of centrality in self-organized cities are different from those in planned cities.
LanguageEnglish
Title of host publicationEnvironment and planning
EditorsNigel Thrift, Trevor Barnes, Jamie Peck, Mike Batty
Place of PublicationLondon
Pages247-276
Number of pages29
VolumeA
StatePublished - 2012

Fingerprint

network analysis
spatial cognition
methodology
urban design
economic geography
land use planning
accessibility
skeleton
connectivity
cost
index
city

Keywords

  • urban planning
  • urban streets
  • network analysis

Cite this

Porta, S., Latora, V., & Crucitti, P. (2012). The network analysis of urban streets: a primal approach. In N. Thrift, T. Barnes, J. Peck, & M. Batty (Eds.), Environment and planning (Vol. A, pp. 247-276). London.
Porta, Sergio ; Latora, Vito ; Crucitti, P./ The network analysis of urban streets : a primal approach. Environment and planning. editor / Nigel Thrift ; Trevor Barnes ; Jamie Peck ; Mike Batty. Vol. A London, 2012. pp. 247-276
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Porta, S, Latora, V & Crucitti, P 2012, The network analysis of urban streets: a primal approach. in N Thrift, T Barnes, J Peck & M Batty (eds), Environment and planning. vol. A, London, pp. 247-276.

The network analysis of urban streets : a primal approach. / Porta, Sergio; Latora, Vito ; Crucitti, P.

Environment and planning. ed. / Nigel Thrift; Trevor Barnes; Jamie Peck; Mike Batty. Vol. A London, 2012. p. 247-276.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

TY - CHAP

T1 - The network analysis of urban streets

T2 - a primal approach

AU - Porta,Sergio

AU - Latora,Vito

AU - Crucitti,P.

PY - 2012

Y1 - 2012

N2 - The network metaphor in the analysis of urban and territorial cases has a long tradition, especially in transportation or land-use planning and economic geography. More recently, urban design has brought its contribution by means of the `space syntax’ methodology. All these approaches – though under different terms like `accessibility’, `proximity’, `integration’, `connectivity’, `cost’, or `effort’ – focus on the idea that some places (or streets) are more important than others because they are more central. The study of centrality in complex systems, however, originated in other scientific areas, namely in structural sociology, well before its use in urban studies; moreover, as a structural property of the system, centrality has never been extensively investigated metrically in geographic networks as it has been topologically in a wide range of other relational networks such as social, biological, or technological ones. After a previous work on some structural properties of the primal graph representation of urban street networks, in this paper we provide an in-depth investigation of centrality in the primal approach as compared with the dual one. We introduce multiple centrality assessment (MCA), a methodology for geographic network analysis, which is defined and implemented on four 1-square-mile urban street systems. MCA provides a different perspective from space syntax in that: (1) it is based on primal, rather than dual, street graphs; (2) it works within a metric, rather than topological, framework; (3) it investigates a plurality of peer centrality indices rather than a single index. We show that, in the MCA primal approach, much more than in the dual approach, some centrality indices nicely capture the `skeleton’ of the urban structure that impacts so much on spatial cognition and collective behaviours. Moreover, the distributions of centrality in self-organized cities are different from those in planned cities.

AB - The network metaphor in the analysis of urban and territorial cases has a long tradition, especially in transportation or land-use planning and economic geography. More recently, urban design has brought its contribution by means of the `space syntax’ methodology. All these approaches – though under different terms like `accessibility’, `proximity’, `integration’, `connectivity’, `cost’, or `effort’ – focus on the idea that some places (or streets) are more important than others because they are more central. The study of centrality in complex systems, however, originated in other scientific areas, namely in structural sociology, well before its use in urban studies; moreover, as a structural property of the system, centrality has never been extensively investigated metrically in geographic networks as it has been topologically in a wide range of other relational networks such as social, biological, or technological ones. After a previous work on some structural properties of the primal graph representation of urban street networks, in this paper we provide an in-depth investigation of centrality in the primal approach as compared with the dual one. We introduce multiple centrality assessment (MCA), a methodology for geographic network analysis, which is defined and implemented on four 1-square-mile urban street systems. MCA provides a different perspective from space syntax in that: (1) it is based on primal, rather than dual, street graphs; (2) it works within a metric, rather than topological, framework; (3) it investigates a plurality of peer centrality indices rather than a single index. We show that, in the MCA primal approach, much more than in the dual approach, some centrality indices nicely capture the `skeleton’ of the urban structure that impacts so much on spatial cognition and collective behaviours. Moreover, the distributions of centrality in self-organized cities are different from those in planned cities.

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KW - network analysis

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M3 - Chapter

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ER -

Porta S, Latora V, Crucitti P. The network analysis of urban streets: a primal approach. In Thrift N, Barnes T, Peck J, Batty M, editors, Environment and planning. Vol. A. London. 2012. p. 247-276.