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A new kind of beauty out of the underlying scaling of geographic space
University of Gävle, Faculty of Engineering and Sustainable Development, Department of Industrial Development, IT and Land Management, Land management, GIS.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-2337-2486
2014 (English)In: Professional Geographer, ISSN 0033-0124, E-ISSN 1467-9272, Vol. 66, no 4, 676-686 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Geographic space demonstrates scaling or hierarchy, implying that there are far more small things than large ones. The scaling pattern of geographic space, if visualized properly (i.e., based on the head/tail breaks classification), can evoke a sense of beauty. This is our central argument. This beauty is a new type of aesthetic at a deeper structural level and differs in essence from an intuitive sense of harmony, perceived in terms of color, shape, texture, and ratio. This new kind of beauty was initially defined and discovered by Christopher Alexander, and promoted in his master work The Nature of Order. To paraphrase Mandelbrot, this is beauty for the sake of science rather than for art's sake or for the sake of commerce. Throughout the article, we attempt to argue and illustrate that the scaling of geographic space possesses this new kind of beauty, which has a positive impact on human well-being. The article further draws on the previous work of Nikos Salingaros and Richard Taylor on the beauty in architecture and arts to support our argument.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. Vol. 66, no 4, 676-686 p.
Keyword [en]
aesthetics; fractals; head/tail breaks; heavy-tailed distributions; Zipf's law
National Category
Computer and Information Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-15236DOI: 10.1080/00330124.2013.852037ISI: 000342295100016Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-84908228980OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hig-15236DiVA: diva2:648071
Available from: 2013-09-13 Created: 2013-09-13 Last updated: 2018-01-11Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard-cite-them-right
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • sv-SE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • de-DE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf