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Tracking a city’s center of gravity over 500 years of growth from a time series of georectified historical maps

Tracking a city’s center of gravity over 500 years of growth from a time series of georectified historical maps
Tracking a city’s center of gravity over 500 years of growth from a time series of georectified historical maps
It is surprising difficult to define where a city center lies, yet its location has a profound effect on a city’s structure and function. We examine whether city center typicality points can be consistently located on historical maps such that their centroid identifies a meaningful central location over a 500-year period in Southampton, UK. We compare movements of this city center centroid against changes in the geographical center of the city as defined by its boundary. Southampton’s historical maps were georectified with a mean accuracy of 21m (range 9.9 to 47m), and 18 to 102 typicality points were identified per map, enough to chart changes in the city center centroid through time. Over nearly 500 years, Southampton’s center has moved just 343m, often corresponding with the key retail attractants of the time, while its population has increased 80-fold, its administrative area 60-fold and its geographical center 1985m. This inertia to change in the city center presents environmental challenges for the present-day, made worse by the geography of Southampton, bounded by the sea, rivers and major roads. Geographical context, coupled with planning decisions in the past that maintain a city center in its historical location, place limits on the current sustainability of a city.
georeferencing, city center, city evolution, spatial structure, typicality features, sustainable urban development
1523-0406
1-13
Alvares Sanches, Tatiana
Osborne, Patrick E.
c4d4261d-557c-4179-a24e-cdd7a98fb2b8
Bahaj, Abubakr
a64074cc-2b6e-43df-adac-a8437e7f1b37
James, Patrick
da0be14a-aa63-46a7-8646-a37f9a02a71b
Alvares Sanches, Tatiana
Osborne, Patrick E.
c4d4261d-557c-4179-a24e-cdd7a98fb2b8
Bahaj, Abubakr
a64074cc-2b6e-43df-adac-a8437e7f1b37
James, Patrick
da0be14a-aa63-46a7-8646-a37f9a02a71b

Alvares Sanches, Tatiana, Osborne, Patrick E., Bahaj, Abubakr and James, Patrick (2020) Tracking a city’s center of gravity over 500 years of growth from a time series of georectified historical maps. Cartography and Geographic Information Science, 1-13. (doi:10.1080/15230406.2020.1774420).

Record type: Article

Abstract

It is surprising difficult to define where a city center lies, yet its location has a profound effect on a city’s structure and function. We examine whether city center typicality points can be consistently located on historical maps such that their centroid identifies a meaningful central location over a 500-year period in Southampton, UK. We compare movements of this city center centroid against changes in the geographical center of the city as defined by its boundary. Southampton’s historical maps were georectified with a mean accuracy of 21m (range 9.9 to 47m), and 18 to 102 typicality points were identified per map, enough to chart changes in the city center centroid through time. Over nearly 500 years, Southampton’s center has moved just 343m, often corresponding with the key retail attractants of the time, while its population has increased 80-fold, its administrative area 60-fold and its geographical center 1985m. This inertia to change in the city center presents environmental challenges for the present-day, made worse by the geography of Southampton, bounded by the sea, rivers and major roads. Geographical context, coupled with planning decisions in the past that maintain a city center in its historical location, place limits on the current sustainability of a city.

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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 22 May 2020
e-pub ahead of print date: 29 June 2020
Keywords: georeferencing, city center, city evolution, spatial structure, typicality features, sustainable urban development

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 441924
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/441924
ISSN: 1523-0406
PURE UUID: 3aa16cda-1bef-466a-8acc-05e2f5b97ade
ORCID for Patrick E. Osborne: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-8919-5710
ORCID for Abubakr Bahaj: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-0043-6045
ORCID for Patrick James: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-2694-7054

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 02 Jul 2020 16:34
Last modified: 08 Oct 2020 04:01

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