Using street based metrics to characterize urban typologies

Autores UPV
Revista Computers Environment and Urban Systems


Urban spatial structures reflect local particularities produced during the development of a city. High spatial resolution imagery and LiDAR data are currently used to derive numerical attributes to describe in detail intra-urban structures and morphologies. Urban block boundaries have been frequently used to define the units for extracting metrics from remotely sensed data. In this paper, we propose to complement these metrics with a set of novel descriptors of the streets surrounding the urban blocks under consideration. These metrics numerically describe geometrical properties in addition to other distinctive aspects, such as presence and properties of vegetation and the relationship between the streets and buildings. For this purpose, we also introduce a methodology for partitioning the street area related to an urban block into polygons from which the street urban metrics are derived. We achieve the assessment of these metrics through application of a one-way ANOVA procedure, the winnowing technique, and a decision tree classifier. Our results suggest that street metrics, and particularly those describing the street geometry, are suitable for enhancing the discrimination of complex urban typologies and help to reduce the confusion between certain typologies. The overall classification accuracy increased from 72.7% to 81.1% after the addition street of descriptors. The results of this study demonstrate the usefulness of these metrics for describing street properties and complementing information derived from urban blocks to improve the description of urban areas. Street metrics are of particular use for the characterization of urban typologies and to study the dynamics of cities.