A Scaling Approach to Evaluating the Distance Exponent of Urban Gravity Model.
The gravity model is one of important models of social physics and human geography, but several basic theoretical and methodological problems remain to be solved. In particular, it is hard to explain and evaluate the distance exponent using the ideas from Euclidean geometry. This paper is devoted to exploring the distance-decay parameter of the urban gravity model. Based on the concepts from fractal geometry, several fractal parameter relations can be derived from scaling laws of self-similar hierarchies of cities. Results show that the distance exponent is just a scaling exponent, which equals the average fractal dimension of the size measurements of the cities within a geographical region. The scaling exponent can be evaluated with the product of Zipf's exponent of size distributions and the fractal dimension of spatial distributions of geographical elements such as cities and towns. The new equations are applied to China's cities, and the empirical results accord with the theoretical expectations. The findings lend further support to the suggestion that the geographical gravity model is a fractal model, and its distance exponent is associated with a fractal dimension and Zipf's exponent. This work will help geographers understand the gravity model using fractal theory and estimate the distance exponent using fractal modeling.
Publisher URL: http://arxiv.org/abs/1511.01171