Spatial distribution of graffiti: A complex network approach (preprint)


Despite the great differences among cities, they face similar challenges regarding social inequality, politics and criminality. Urban art express these feelings from the citizen point-of-view. In particular, the drawing and painting of public surfaces may carry rich information about the time and region it was made. Existing studies have explored the spatial distribution of graffiti, but most of them considered graffiti as a whole, with no separation among the types. Also, the analyses rarely take into account the city topology. In this work, we propose to categorize the graffiti into three types: simple scribbles, complex scribbles, canvases. We analyze the spatial distribution and identify the spatial bias of each type. To further analyze the spatial distribution of the types, we apply concepts from complex networks. First, regions (communities) defined by the connectivity profiles of the city network are obtained and the prevalence of each type of graffiti over these regions are analyzed. Next, a measure based on the dynamics of the network (accessibility) is calculated and compared to the distribution of the graffiti types. A case study is performed in the analysis of three different categories of graffiti in the city of Sao Paulo, Brazil. The results showed that the categories present characteristic spatial distributions. The ratio of each type per community of the network, though, does not pose significant deviations. Finally, a small positive correlation was observed between the locations of each graffiti type and the accessibility.