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A Territorial Articulation Index for Rural Areas Applied to Four Spanish

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ABSTRACT

This paper proposes a model for calculating a composite index to evaluate the internal territorial cohesion or articulation of rural areas, specifically rural Spanish comarcas (groups of municipalities with common geographic and historical characteristics). Evaluation is based on the optimum spatial distributions of their urban nuclei and access to roads by their inhabitants. First, we built the index for spatial distributions of urban nuclei in each comarca. Next, we constructed road accessibility indexes for all urban nuclei to each other and to the main urban nucleus (defined by the largest concentration of services). Based on these indexes, we developed an Internal Territorial Articulation Index (ITAI) that reflects the spatial distribution of the territory's urban nuclei in terms of their aggregation, internal accessibility within the comarca, and relationship with the main urban nucleus. The ITAI was applied to four Spanish comarcas in the province of Almería: Almería Alpujarra, Almanzora, Los Vélez, and Almería Poniente. The results are highly varied and allow areas with low degrees of territorial articulation or coherence to be identified either by the distribution of their urban nuclei or by their poor accessibility to roads. Results were unfavourable in mountainous regions with steep slopes and in areas furthest from the province's large urban nuclei. The conclusions may help develop settlement and road transport infrastructure strategies in these rural comarcas.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Rural Engineering, University of Almería, Almería, Spain 2: TRANSyT (Transport Investigation Centre), Polytechnic University of Madrid, Madrid, Spain

Publication date: September 1, 2011

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