The Geometric Origins of Complex Cities

  • Ruiqi Li
  • Lei Dong
  • Xinran Wang
  • Jiang ZhangEmail author
Conference paper
Part of the Springer Proceedings in Complexity book series (SPCOM)


Due to the rapid urbanization, cities have become a hot topic. Extensive complex phenomena, such as scaling laws with respect to population, morphology, spatial distribution within cities have been revealed and validated by the empirical studies. Yet there’s still no clear answer to the question that what’s the underlying mechanism responsible for these observed complex phenomena. Most of previous studies only focus on one aspect of the city. However, focusing on only one aspect may lose the whole picture of it. Based on a very simple “matching growth” rule and two more simple assumptions, which are all performed locally, we propose a simple model which can derive most of observed macro scaling relations and spatial distribution. All these theoretical deductions can be well supported by empirical data. And the consistency between the exponents of different cumulative spatial distribution may indicates that the city really follows the rules we assumed.


Fractal Dimension Road Network City Center Voronoi Diagram Allometric Scaling 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



J. Zhang thanks for the discussions with Prof. Bettencourt in Santa Fe Institute, doctor Wu in Arizona University and Prof. Wang and Chen in Beijing normal university, acknowledges the support from the National Natural Science Foundation of China under Grant No. 61004107 and No. 61174165.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Systems ScienceBeijing Normal UniversityBeijingChina
  2. 2.School of ArchitectureTsinghua UniversityBeijingChina
  3. 3.College of Resources Science and TechnologyBeijing Normal UniversityBeijingChina

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