The Bartlett Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis


CASA Working Paper 30


1 July 2001

The Geometry of Slums: boundaries, packing and diversity

The geometry of squatter settlements on the northeastern coast of Brazil is examined and compared to settlements in the central region of Kenya. In particular, fragmented structures, often squatter settlements composed of islands of dwelling or habitations in these settlements, and void areas which are unoccupied regions between dwellings, are studied. We find that such settlements, when constrained by urban and natural boundaries, present robust configurational patterns, which we can express best by statistical distributions with the scaling properties.

Such scaling properties, when considered in the context of urban planning, can be useful for describing and predicting the spatial and social parameters of such squatter settlements. Several scaling functions and other mathematical formulae, which are of interest in planning, are also derived and discussed.

This working paper is available as a PDF. The file size is 566KB.

Authors: Fabiano Sobreira, Marcelo Gomes

Publication Date: 1/7/2001

Download working paper No. 30.