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A positive theory of network connectivity

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  • David Levinson
  • Arthur Huang

Abstract

In this paper we develop a positive theory of network connectivity, seeking to provide the microfoundations of alternative network topologies as the result of self-interested actors. By building roads, landowners hope to increase their parcels’ accessibility and economic value. A simulation model is performed on a grid-like land-use layer with a downtown in the center. The degree to which the networks are tree-like is evaluated. This research posits that road networks experience an evolutionary process where a tree-like structure first emerges around the centered parcel before the network pushes outward to the periphery. Road network topology becomes increasingly connected as the accessibility value of reaching other parcels increases. The results demonstrate that, even without a centralized authority, road networks can display the property of self-organization and evolution, and that, in the absence of intervention, the degree to which a network structure is tree-like or web-like results from the underlying economies. Keywords: road network, network growth, network structure, treeness, circuitness, topology

Suggested Citation

  • David Levinson & Arthur Huang, 2012. "A positive theory of network connectivity," Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 39(2), pages 308-325, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:pio:envirb:v:39:y:2012:i:2:p:308-325
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    1. Paul Anderson & David Levinson & Pavithra Parthasarathi, 2011. "Accessibility Futures," Working Papers 000088, University of Minnesota: Nexus Research Group.
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    Cited by:

    1. David Levinson, 2011. "Network Structure and City Size," Working Papers 000094, University of Minnesota: Nexus Research Group.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • R41 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Transportation Economics - - - Transportation: Demand, Supply, and Congestion; Travel Time; Safety and Accidents; Transportation Noise
    • R48 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Transportation Economics - - - Government Pricing and Policy
    • R53 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Regional Government Analysis - - - Public Facility Location Analysis; Public Investment and Capital Stock

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