City Research Online

On the relation between Transversal and Longitudinal Scaling in Cities

Ribeiro, F. L., Meirelles, J., Netto, V. M. , Neto, C. R. & Baronchelli, A. ORCID: 0000-0002-0255-0829 (2019). On the relation between Transversal and Longitudinal Scaling in Cities. City, Univeristy of London.


Given that a group of cities follows a scaling law connecting urban population with socio-economic or infrastructural metrics (transversal scaling), should we expect that each city would follow the same behavior over time (longitudinal scaling)? This assumption has important policy implications, although rigorous empirical tests have been so far hindered by the lack of suitable data. Here, we advance the debate by looking into the temporal evolution of the scaling laws for 5507 municipalities in Brazil. We focus on the relationship between population size and two urban variables, GDP and water network length, analyzing the time evolution of the system of cities as well as their individual trajectory. We find that longitudinal (individual) scaling exponents are city-specific, but they are distributed around an average value that approaches to the transversal scaling exponent when the data are decomposed to eliminate external factors, and when we only consider cities with a sufficiently large growth rate. Such results give support to the idea that the longitudinal dynamics is a micro-scaling version of the transversal dynamics of the entire urban system. Finally, we propose a mathematical framework that connects the microscopic level to global behavior, and, in all analyzed cases, we find good agreement between theoretical prediction and empirical evidence.

Publication Type: Monograph (Working Paper)
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GA Mathematical geography. Cartography
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GB Physical geography
Q Science > QA Mathematics
Departments: School of Science & Technology > Mathematics
Related URLs:
Text - Draft Version
Download (1MB) | Preview



Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics

Actions (login required)

Admin Login Admin Login