Journal article

Street networks in relation to landforms: Implications for fast-growing cities

In addition to socio-economic factors, major landforms may affect the city structure and urban form. Here we show that landforms have significant effects on the city shape and street patterns of the fast-growing Iranian cities of Dezful (a river) and Khorramabad (mountains and valleys), but no clear effects on the cities of Yazd and Nain. Also, where the street orientation is peaked, the Gibbs/Shannon entropy (a measure of dispersion or spread) is low, but increases as the distribution becomes more uniform because of landform constraints. The streets in the old inner parts of all the cities are, on average, shorter and denser (more streets per unit area) than the streets of the newer outer parts. The entropies of the outer parts are also greater than those of the inner parts, implying that the street-length distribution gradually becomes more dispersed or spread as the city expands. All these cities have been fast growing in the past decades, with the newer outer parts expanding rapidly. As shown here, the rapidly formed outer parts (with greater dispersion in street patterns) have significantly different textures from those of the older inner parts, indicating different functionality and growth processes. These quantitative methods for street-network analysis can be used worldwide, particularly for analysing the effects of landforms on city shape and texture.


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