Reference Work Entry

Handbook of Regional Science

pp 1253-1273


Spatial Network Analysis

  • David O’SullivanAffiliated withSchool of Environment, University of Auckland Email author 


Spatial networks organize and structure human social, economic, and cultural systems. The analysis of network structure depends on the development of measures and models of networks, which in turn rely on mathematical graph theory. Key concepts and definitions from graph theory are reviewed and used to develop a variety of graph structural measures, which can be used to investigate local and global network structure. Particular emphasis is placed on high-level network structural features of centrality, cohesive subgraphs, and structural equivalence. Widely used models for spatial networks are introduced and discussed. Pointers to empirical research on real-world spatial networks are provided.