Structural robustness and service reachability in urban settings


Data Mining and Knowledge Discovery




J. Borge-Holthoefer, S. Abbar, T. Zanouda

Research area




The concept of city or urban resilience has emerged as one of the key challenges for the next decades. As a consequence, institutions like the United Nations or Rockefeller Foundation have embraced initiatives that increase or improve it. These efforts translate into funded programs both for action “on the ground” and to develop quantification of resilience, under the for of an index. Ironically, on the academic side there is no clear consensus regarding how resilience should be quantified, or what it exactly refers to in the urban context. Here we attempt to link both extremes providing an example of how to exploit large, publicly available, worldwide urban datasets, to produce objective insight into one of the possible dimensions of urban resilience. We do so via well-established methods in complexity science, such as percolation theory—which has a long tradition at providing valuable information on the vulnerability in complex systems. Our findings uncover large differences among studied cities, both regarding their infrastructural fragility and the imbalances in the distribution of critical services.