Preprint Article Version 1 This version is not peer-reviewed

Natural Cities Generated from All Building Locations in America

Version 1 : Received: 22 April 2019 / Approved: 25 April 2019 / Online: 25 April 2019 (12:06:45 CEST)

How to cite: Jiang, B. Natural Cities Generated from All Building Locations in America. Preprints 2019, 2019040283 (doi: 10.20944/preprints201904.0283.v1). Jiang, B. Natural Cities Generated from All Building Locations in America. Preprints 2019, 2019040283 (doi: 10.20944/preprints201904.0283.v1).

Abstract

Authorities define cities – or human settlements in general – through imposing top-down rules in terms of whether buildings belong to cities. Emerging geospatial big data makes it possible to define cities from the bottom up, i.e., buildings determine themselves whether they belong to a city based on the notion of natural cities that is defined based on head/tail breaks, a classification and visualization tool for data with a heavy-tailed distribution. In this paper, we used 125 million building locations – all building footprints of America (mainland) or their centroids more precisely – to derive 2.1 million natural cities in the country (http://lifegis.hig.se/uscities/). These natural cities – in contrast to government defined city boundaries – constitute a valuable data source for city-related research.

Supplementary and Associated Material

Subject Areas

Head/tail breaks, natural cities, Zipf’s law, geospatial big data

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