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Lost in translation, found in entropy: An exploratory data analysis of latent growth factors in a Mediterranean city (1960–2010)

Salvati, Luca, Mavrakis, Anastasios, Serra, Pere, Carlucci, Margherita
Applied geography 2015 v.60 pp. 107-119
cities, developed countries, entropy, geography, models, planning, urbanization, Greece
Relating urban form and functions for the various typologies of metropolitan regions is an intriguing area of research. Mediterranean cities offer a kaleidoscopic overview of different urban forms (dominated by compact and dense settlements) and functional patterns at the local scale. The present study introduces an exploratory analysis of the long-term expansion (1960–2010) of a paradigmatic Mediterranean city (Athens, Greece) suspended between informality and planning, competitiveness and crisis. Going beyond the classical models investigating urban growth in developed countries, 17 socioeconomic and territorial indicators were analyzed by decade for each municipality within the study area to identify latent factors characterizing the recent phases of urban expansion. Our results point out the increased complexity of growth patterns that are shifting from a strictly mono-centric spatial organization to a more entropic and scattered model based on the dichotomy between the compact city and the neighboring dispersed suburbs. The methodology applied offers a comprehensive overview of the relationship between form and functions underlying post-war Athens' development and contributes to the understanding of urban complexity in the contemporary city.