A Multi-Scale Analysis of 27,000 Urban Street Networks

Cite as:¬†Boeing, G. 2017. “A Multi-Scale Analysis of 27,000 Urban Street Networks.” Manuscript under review.

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This research project’s street networks and measures data are publicly available in my repository at the Harvard Dataverse.

Abstract

OpenStreetMap offers an underexplored source of worldwide geospatial data useful to urban researchers. This study uses the OSMnx software to automatically download and analyze 27,009 US street networks from OpenStreetMap at metropolitan, municipal, and neighborhood scales – namely, every US city and town (N=19,655), census urbanized area (N=497), and Zillow-defined neighborhood (N=6857). It presents wide-ranging empirical findings on US urban form and street network characteristics, emphasizing measures relevant to graph theory, urban design, and morphology such as structure, connectedness, density, centrality, and resilience. In the past, street network data acquisition and processing has been challenging and ad hoc. This study illustrates the use of OSMnx and OpenStreetMap to consistently conduct street network analysis with extremely large sample sizes, with clearly defined network definitions and extents for reproducibility, and using nonplanar, directed graphs. These street networks and measures data sets have been shared in a public repository for other researchers to use.