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Examination of the Diffusion of COVID-19 Cases in Viçosa, Minas Gerais (Brazil): A Configurational Approach

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The urban space has been recognised, worldwide, as one of the main factors affecting the spread of infectious diseases. Severe acute respiratory syndrome Sars-Cov-2, which causes COVID-19, is much more transmissible than the respiratory viruses already known from previous pandemics. The role the urban space configuration played in the COVID-19 dissemination is highlighted, due to the social dynamics and physical contacts happening within it. In order to understand the configurational influence in the infection propagation process, this study used morphological analysis techniques derived from Space Syntax. As such, the research focussed on the urban space and the spatial spread of COVID-19 cases in Viçosa-MG (Brazil). A dataset of confirmed cases and corresponding locations were collected. Considering Space Syntax, Choice and Integration measures were selected as quantitative indicators for the urban space configuration. In addition, it was developed an overlapping process of syntactic analyses with the Kernel Density Estimator (also called Kernel Map), to estimate the density and concentration of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the urban space. As a result, it was possible to reveal a strong relationship between the urban space configuration and the spread of COVID-19.


  • COVID-19
  • Space syntax
  • Kernel maps
  • Urban morphology

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This work was partially supported by Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia, I.P. (FCT) [ISTAR Projects: UIDB/04466/2020 and UIDP/04466/2020].

ISTAR is a research centre with the mission to carry out research that can address current human, organizational and societal problems, by adopting user-centered approaches. Its research lies in the convergence of Computer Science, IT, Mathematics, Architecture, and Urbanism. ISTAR is organized into four research groups: Digital Living Spaces, Information Systems, Software System Engineering and Complexity, and Computational Modelling. ISTAR stimulates flexibility in its structure, diversity, and cross-fertilization of scientific and technological ideas. Through a growing interdependence of the groups, we aim at empowering multidisciplinary research without losing focus on the core areas. ISTAR has 75 researchers with Ph.D. and 61 Ph.D. students. In 2019 ISTAR was evaluated by FCT, as “Very Good”, certifying the high quality of research and innovation being developed at the research centre.

We thank the Epidemiological Surveillance of the municipality of Viçosa-MG for providing the confirmed COVID-19 data. Especially to the general controller of the municipality Elaine Rafael Silva for being a facilitator of institutional bureaucratic processes.

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Correspondence to David Leite Viana .

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de Oliveira Mattos, M.L., Oliveira, A.D., Viana, D.L., de Almeida Faria, T.C. (2023). Examination of the Diffusion of COVID-19 Cases in Viçosa, Minas Gerais (Brazil): A Configurational Approach. In: Mora, P.L., Viana, D.L., Morais, F., Vieira Vaz, J. (eds) Formal Methods in Architecture. FMA 2022. Digital Innovations in Architecture, Engineering and Construction. Springer, Singapore.

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