Exploring the Added Value of Population Distribution Indicators for Studies of European Urban Form

Cheng Guo (Corresponding Author), N. Schwarz, C.M. Buchmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


In Europe, landscape metrics dominate studies that apply quantitative analyses to urban form. Indicators describing population distribution in more detail than just population density, which in Europe are often neglected because of the difficulty in data acquisition, are likely to be more adequate for describing the socioeconomic perspective on urban form. This study aims to disclose the linkage between landscape metrics and population distribution metrics and to provide a better understanding of population distribution patterns. In our study, we quantified urban form in 35 European cities using the most common indicators from both groups of indicators, including measures for the gradient of population density with distance from the city center or (in-) equality of population distribution. We found that landscape metrics correlate only weakly with population distribution indicators by analyzing the correlation matrix. To obtain more insight into the largely neglected group of population distribution indicators, we also applied a regression analysis to understand their underlying information. The results show that population distribution indicators are related to other basic characteristics of cities, such as planning coordination and latitude. The indicated influence of national planning regime on urban form could stimulate further discussion on the effectiveness of urban planning measures. Our study demonstrates that population distribution indicators provide a different perspective than landscape metrics in describing urban form. We therefore stress that it is essential to include population distribution indicators also for describing European cities when aiming to comprehensively describe urban form.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)439-463
Number of pages25
JournalApplied spatial analysis and policy
Issue number3
Early online date16 May 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2018


  • Urban form
  • European cities
  • Density gradient
  • Landscape metrics
  • Population distribution indicator
  • UT-Hybrid-D


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