Scaling of the morphology of African cities

Rafael Prieto-Curiel, Jorge E. Patino, and Brilé Anderson

120 (9) e2214254120

The emptiness, elongation, and sprawl of a city have lasting implications for cities’ future energy needs. This paper creates a publicly available set of urban form indicators and estimates intercity distances. It uses footprint data of millions of buildings in Africa as well as the boundaries of urban agglomerations, street network data, and terrain metrics to detect different extension patterns in almost six thousand cities. These methods estimate the increasingly longer commutes in urban areas and the energy needed to move millions of people. Designing compact, dense, and better-connected urban forms will help cities be more sustainable and liveable.

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