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Urban Productivity & Spatial Patterns Across Scales

Arbabi, Hadi (2019) Urban Productivity & Spatial Patterns Across Scales. PhD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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Abstract

Understanding the nuances at play across different spatial scales is of crucial importance when considering urban economic-energetic size-cost performance, specifically when longer-term consequences are considered. Through the application of an allometric understanding of cities, a more nuanced narrative is offered highlighting the interplay of urban productivity and spatial configurations of human interactions across scales. This is presented in three parts. In the initial examination of the urban economic-energetic size-cost balance across spatial scales, we seek new insights on the effects of scale in relation to urban connectivity and density for maximizing urban size-cost balance. For this, we use the urban system in England and Wales as a topical testbed where agglomeration-based arguments have been used in support of better inter-city connectivity in order to address a historic North-South regional economic productivity divide. The inadequate connectivity thought to be affecting the economic performance across the urban network in England and Wales, however, is shown to permeate across spatial scales. More broadly, this points at a scale-induced hierarchy of urban connectivity concerning potential improvements needed at inter- and intra-city scales. This is followed by an examination of the universality and transferability of scaling insights, and their nuances, between different cities and systems of cities. Considering the current transport schemes designed to address the North-South economic gap, we examine the continental comparisons drawn specifically from the inter-city transport infrastructure connecting the Randstad in the Netherlands and Rhine-Ruhr metropolitan region in Germany. Our examination points towards fundamental differences that exist in the structure and distribution of population density across the countries and their city-regions across various scales. Additionally, the cross comparison demonstrates that, although scaling insights are transferable between urban systems, a simple multi-scale assessment of individual systems of cities in isolation is sufficient when investigating urban connectivity from an urban allometric point of view. Finally, returning full circle to the effects of spatial scales and distance on the geographical patterns of urban connectivity, we review a mathematically grounded approach to sort and organize the intra- and inter-city connectivity hierarchy while matching complementary infrastructural needs based on size-cost balances for a number of different scenarios. Together, this narrative provides a somewhat enhanced and most crucially spatially multi-scale examination of the arguments regarding connectivity and agglomeration in an urban context.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Engineering (Sheffield) > Civil and Structural Engineering (Sheffield)
Depositing User: Hadi Arbabi
Date Deposited: 08 Oct 2019 10:45
Last Modified: 08 Oct 2019 10:45
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/25054

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