Spatial Rules Generate Urban Patterns: Emergence of the Small-World Network

  • H. Rezayan
  • M. R. Delavar
  • A. U. Frank
  • A. Mansouri
Part of the Lecture Notes in Geoinformation and Cartography book series (LNGC)


Objective explanation of urban patterns requires regeneration of these patterns. We defined eight simple spatial rules for locating a building in space and used these rules to simulate re-generation of the small-world network pattern, which is an archetype in structures of cities. We provided a spatial description of how these rules act generating the mentioned pattern. The description is based on using local spatial predictability of the physical reality, incorporating basic spatial global rules, and reducing the indeterminacy of the simulation model. The results show that following the spatial rules derived from the physical reality, it is difficult to avoid generating the small-world network. This clarifies problem of the urban design approaches damaging the small-world network patterns in contemporary cities. The results also propose the small-world network characteristics for cities that are not pre-planned, or more properly organic cities, settled on flat lands.


Small-World Network Spatial Rule Physical Reality 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Alexander C (2002a) The Nature of Order: The Phenomenon of Life. Taylor & Francis, LondonGoogle Scholar
  2. Alexander C (2002b) The Nature of Order: The Process of Creating Life. Taylor & Francis, LondonGoogle Scholar
  3. Batty M, M Dodge, Jiang B, and Smith A (1998) GIS and Urban Design. Technical Report, Center for Advanced Spatial Analyses – CASAGoogle Scholar
  4. Carvalho R; Penn A (2004) Scaling and universality in the micro-structure of urban space. Physica A 32:539-547CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Epstein JM, Axtell R (1996) Growing Artificial Societies: Social science from the bottom up. Brookings Institution Press, Washington D.C.Google Scholar
  6. Hillier B (1989) The Architecture of the Urban Object. Ekistics, 56:5-21.Google Scholar
  7. Hillier B, (2001) A Theory of the City as Object: How Spatial Laws Mediate the Social Construction of Urban Space. In: 3rd International Space Syntax Symposium Proceeding, Atlanta, USAGoogle Scholar
  8. Lechner T, Watson B, Wilensky U, Felsen M (2006) Procedural Modeling of Land Use in Cities. In: ACM SIGGRAPH Conference proceedingGoogle Scholar
  9. Lynch K (1981) Good City Form. Massachusetts Institute of Technology.Google Scholar
  10. Salingaros NA (1998) Theory of the Urban Web. Journal of Urban Design 3:53-71CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Salingaros NA (2001) Remarks on a City’s Composition. In: Resource for Urban Design Information (RUDI)Google Scholar
  12. Salingaros NA (2003) Connecting the Fractal City. In: 5th Biennial of towns and town planners in Europe, Barcelona, SpainGoogle Scholar
  13. Tobler W (1979) Smooth Pycnophlactic Interpolation for Geographical Region. Journal of the American Statistical Association 74:519-530CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Watts DJ, Strogatz S (1998) Collective dynamics of ’small-world’ networks. Nature 393:440–442CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Wilensky U (1999) NetLogo. Center for Connected Learning and Computer-Based Modeling, Northwestern University, Evanston, ILGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • H. Rezayan
    • 1
  • M. R. Delavar
    • 1
  • A. U. Frank
    • 2
  • A. Mansouri
    • 3
  1. 1.Dept. of Surveying and Geomatic Eng., Eng. FacultyUniversity of TehranTehranIran
  2. 2.Dept. of Geo-Information E-127Technische University WienGusshausstr. 27-29
  3. 3.Dept. of Landscape Architecture, Fine Art FacultyUniversity of TehranTehranIran

Personalised recommendations