Somwrita Sarkar
The CONNECT theme, investigating “how networks and urban structure affect the performance of urban systems”, is led by Dr Somwrita Sarkar.


Accurate measurement is key to effective policy. Dr Somwrita Sarkar leads the development of new theory, methods, and metrics on measurement, spanning questions on: 

  • Urban Scaling Theory: How do the spatial organization of structure, size, and scale of cities, and their temporal evolution, affect their performance? 
  • Spatial Inequalities: How does unevenness of spatial structure shape spatial justice and equity of access?
  • Network Inequalities: How do the geometric and topological structures of transport networks shape spatial justice and equity of access?  
  • Urban structure and transport systems as collective social choice: How do major or minor changes to land use organization and transport infrastructure affect the distribution of jobs, amenities and social infrastructure, and existing accessibility patterns to these? Who wins? Who loses? How should we measure the systemic gains or losses of utility or welfare based on the individual wins and losses?
  • New measures and metrics for spatial and network inequalities: How to extend traditional measures of economic inequality to include information on geographic and spatial inequalities? 
  • Infrastructure lags and performance: What parts of a city underperform because of infrastructure lags? How to identify these lag hotspots? 
  • Agglomeration economies and diseconomies: When is a big city too big? A small city too small? How do economies and diseconomies rise with size? Are there natural limits to agglomeration?
  • What is a city? Developing novel data-driven methods to define urban concentrations and boundaries of urban growth.  

Some recent publications: 


  1. Sarkar, S., Wu, H. and Levinson, D. (2019) Network measures of polycentricity, 98th Annual Meeting of the Transportation Research Board, Washington DC, Jan 13-17, 2019. 
  2. Sarkar, S. (2018) Urban scaling and the geographic concentration of inequalities by city size, Environment and Planning B, early access:

    DOI: 10.1177/2399808318766070. 

  3. Sarkar, S., Phibbs, P., Simpson, R. and Wasnik, S. (2018) The scaling of income distribution in Australia: Possible relationships between urban allometry, city size, and economic inequality, Environment and Planning B, 45(4): 603-622. 
  4. Sarkar, S., Chawla, S. et al. (2017) Effective urban structure inference from traffic flow dynamics, IEEE Transactions on Big Data, 3(2): 181-193.