A positive theory of network connectivity

David Levinson, Arthur Huang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations

Abstract

In this paper we develop a positive theory of network connectivity, seeking to provide the microfoundations of alternative network topologies as the result of self-interested actors. By building roads, landowners hope to increase their parcels' accessibility and economic value. A simulation model is performed on a grid-like land-use layer with a downtown in the center. The degree to which the networks are tree-like is evaluated. This research posits that road networks experience an evolutionary process where a tree-like structure first emerges around the centered parcel before the network pushes outward to the periphery. Road network topology becomes increasingly connected as the accessibility value of reaching other parcels increases. The results demonstrate that, even without a centralized authority, road networks can display the property of self-organization and evolution, and that, in the absence of intervention, the degree to which a network structure is tree-like or web-like results from the underlying economies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)308-325
Number of pages18
JournalEnvironment and Planning B: Planning and Design
Volume39
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 2012

Keywords

  • Circuitness
  • Network growth
  • Network structure
  • Road network
  • Topology
  • Treeness

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