Fractal Organization of Chilean Cities: Observations from a Developing Country

Francisco Martínez, Bastian Sepúlveda, Hermann Manríquez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Urban forms are human-made systems that display a close connection with fractal objects, following organisation patterns that are not as random as believed. In this context, fractal theory can be seriously considered as a powerful tool for characterizing land-use planning. By applying the box-counting method and image-processing methods, the morphology and fractal metrics of urban networks of Chilean cities were measured. This dimension shows a close correlation with area, population and gross domestic product of each entity, revealing significant asymmetries regarding their distribution throughout the country. Such asymmetries have influenced the current shape of cities, issues concerning economic and social inequalities of urban development that still remain in the territory and explained by social segregation process and the historical evolution of cities. Additionally, some interesting allometric scaling laws obtained from these urban forms are also reported. Our results suggest that the use of fractal metrics can be a meaningful and cheap tool for characterizing the complexity of urban networks, providing useful and quick information about the organisation and efficiency of urban planning in developing countries.

Original languageEnglish
Article number296
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2023


  • Chilean cities
  • box-counting method
  • developing country
  • fractal dimension
  • urban morphology


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