Urban growth and form: scaling, fractal geometry, and diffusion- limited aggregation

M. Batty, P. Longley, Stewart Fotheringham

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

165 Scopus citations


In this paper, we propose a model of growth and form in which the processes of growth are intimately linked to the resulting geometry of the system. The model, first developed by Witten and Sander and referred to as the diffusion-limited aggregation or DLA model, generates highly ramified tree-like clusters of particles, or populations, with evident self-similarity about a fixed point. We suggest that this model provides a suitable baseline for the development of models of urban structure and density which manifest similar scaling properties. A typical DLA simulation is presented and a variety of measures of its structure and dynamics are developed. These same measures are then applied to the urban growth and form of Taunton, a small market town in South West England, and important similarities and differences with the DLA simulation are discussed. -from Authors

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationEnvironment & Planning A
Number of pages26
StatePublished - 1989
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences
  • General Environmental Science


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