The European Physical Journal B

, Volume 71, Issue 2, pp 259–271

Random planar graphs and the London street network

Interdisciplinary Physics

DOI: 10.1140/epjb/e2009-00290-4

Cite this article as:
Masucci, A., Smith, D., Crooks, A. et al. Eur. Phys. J. B (2009) 71: 259. doi:10.1140/epjb/e2009-00290-4


In this paper we analyse the street network of London both in its primary and dual representation. To understand its properties, we consider three idealised models based on a grid, a static random planar graph and a growing random planar graph. Comparing the models and the street network, we find that the streets of London form a self-organising system whose growth is characterised by a strict interaction between the metrical and informational space. In particular, a principle of least effort appears to create a balance between the physical and the mental effort required to navigate the city.


89.75.-k Complex systems 89.75.Da Systems obeying scaling laws 89.65.Lm Urban planning and construction 

Copyright information

© EDP Sciences, SIF, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis, University College LondonLondonUK

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