Geographical characterisation of British urban form and function using the spatial signatures framework
Fleischmann, M. and Arribas-Bel, D. ‘Geographical characterisation of British urban form and function using the spatial signatures framework’ Scientific Data, 9, (546). doi:10.1038/s41597-022-01640-8
The spatial arrangement of the building blocks that make up cities matters to understand the rules directing their dynamics. Our study outlines the development of the national open-source classification of space according to its form and function into a single typology. We create a bespoke granular spatial unit, the enclosed tessellation, and measure characters capturing its form and function within a relevant spatial context. Using K-Means clustering of individual enclosed tessellation cells, we generate a classification of space for the whole of Great Britain. Contiguous enclosed tessellation cells belonging to the same class are merged forming spatial signature geometries and their typology. We identify 16 distinct types of spatial signatures stretching from wild countryside, through various kinds of suburbia to types denoting urban centres according to their regional importance. The open data product presented here has the potential to serve as boundary delineation for other researchers interested in urban environments and policymakers looking for a unique perspective on cities and their structure.