This is the network of streets (a) and the corresponding set of "blocks," or geometrical shapes (b), formed by the layout of the Shibuya neighborhood in Tokyo, Japan. Such geometrical shapes taken together give each neighborhood and city their own fingerprints, which can then be compared to others from across the globe.
Co-authors Remi Louf and Marc Barthelemy explained to Discovery News that traditional methods for comparing city structures usually only consider "street patterns as a network where the nodes are essentially the intersections and the links represent the road segments." The new "fingerprint" method, however, includes visual aspects of street patterns and the overall layout, providing more information.
Shibuya is a dynamic neighborhood that has variously been the site of a castle, the center of the IT industry in Japan, a destination for high fashion and a bustling nightlife. The irregularity of its blocks matches the dynamic nature of Shibuya.