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The use of fractal geometry in the study of settlements in West Africa

Hutchens-Boll, Nicholas (2010) The use of fractal geometry in the study of settlements in West Africa. Masters thesis, University of Liverpool.

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Abstract

This dissertation is intended as part of my continuing research into the prevalence of fractal forms within West African settlements, and the potential use of fractal analysis in the comparison of urban and cultural forms, here and in other parts of the world. It is hoped the results of the research can have profound effects on the understanding of how sociological patterns go on to influence their associated built environment – through a more empirical comparison process than currently exists. Analogies drawn with biological evolutionary theory have proved very elucidating in this respect. This initial report's focus is on the introduction of African fractals, the identification of a suitable case study area, the development of a viable system of analysis and an investigation of the potential paths of future work this opens. Although the identification and explanation of African fractals has been attempted before, by Ron Eglash and others, it is the use of recently developed fractal analysis software which will, hopefully, allow a more rigorous investigation to be undertaken. Thus, the crux of this dissertation is the development of appropriate methods for use with Benoit: Fractal Analysis System, and the discussion of the meaning of the results produced. The dissertation will begin with an introduction of: the specific research questions to be addressed, the research methodologies to be used, and relevant existing work in the fields of fractal geometry, urban morphology and the study of African culture – in particular the Dogon. This will be followed by an account of the planning, performance and results of the fractal analysis and a discussion of the direction of further work. This will include the potential of the use of modelling in the next stage in the research and the identification of the requirements needed in sociological understanding to achieve this, in terms of additional information on Dogon culture and a more precise understanding of the effects of cultural processes. This will be followed by a brief conclusion outlining the potential applications of the research and the implications of this work to the wider fields within which it sites itself.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Subjects:G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GF Human ecology. Anthropogeography
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GA Mathematical geography. Cartography
N Fine Arts > NA Architecture
Departments, Research Centres and Related Units:Academic Faculties, Institutes and Research Centres > Faculty of Social and Environmental Studies > School of Architecture
Refereed:No
Status:Unpublished
ID Code:1326
Deposited On:30 Nov 2010 12:18
Last Modified:19 May 2011 14:01

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