A method for delineating a hierarchically networked structure of urban landscape

Document Type


Publication Date



Geography and Geology

Publication Title

Urban Geography


We developed a new approach combining statistical and graphical methods to build a hierarchically networked structure for understanding spatial characteristics of urban landscapes at multiple scales. Natural breaks optimization algorithm is applied to determine the optimal number of urban land hierarchies and assign discrete patches into ordered sub-groups according to a selected geometric or functional attribute. Patches contained in a sub-group are linked to the patches in the next sub-group according to the spatial relationships between the patch centroids and Voronoi cells. The conceptual foundations and technical details of this approach are elaborated in the case study of building a hierarchically networked structure of urban built-up patches in Beijing. This approach can be applied to quantify landscape patterns of other land uses to facilitate assessments of interconnection between various types of land uses at varied hierarchical levels (spatial scales) and to evaluate ecological service functions of urban built infrastructures.

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