Towards a theory of distributed attraction: the effects of street network configuration upon the distribution of retail in the city of Buenos Aires
Scoppa, Martin Dennis
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This dissertation tests the proposition that the spatial structure of street networks affects the distribution of urban land use. Specifically, it examines patterns of commercial land use utilizing parcel based data on retail and service businesses location. While previous studies report a correlation between spatial structure and patterns of commercial land use, these studies do not typically control for the effect of key variables likely to contribute to the spatial distribution of retail and service establishments. In order to redress this balance, and using the City of Buenos Aires as a case study, this dissertation studies the correlation between commercial land use frontage and street connectivity measures, while controlling for street widths, density of population and employment, interstore externalities, zoning regulations, and distance to transit stations. Buenos Aires is chosen for its regular plan radiating from a well-defined CBD, a plan which would be expected to conform to standard urban attraction models of retail location. Results of multiple regression models indicate that, after controlling for these variables, measures of street connectivity account for key aspects of the distribution of retail, including linear distributions along major radial and peripheral streets at a distance from the CBD. Thus, the dissertation supports the thesis that "urban attraction" should not be conceptualized in terms of distances from a unique central location, or a number of central locations, but rather in terms of a model of distributed centrality governed by the structure of street networks.