In topology and other branches of mathematics, a topological space ''X'' is locally connected if every point admits a neighbourhood basis consisting entirely of Open set, open, Connected set, connected sets.


Throughout the history of topology, Connected space, connectedness and Compact space, compactness have been two of the most widely studied topological properties. Indeed, the study of these properties even among subsets of Euclidean space, and the recognition of their independence from the particular form of the Euclidean metric, played a large role in clarifying the notion of a topological property and thus a topological space. However, whereas the structure of ''compact'' subsets of Euclidean space was understood quite early on via the Heine–Borel theorem, ''connected'' subsets of \R^n (for ''n'' > 1) proved to be much more complicated. Indeed, while any compact Hausdorff space is locally compact, a connected space—and even a connected subset of the Euclidean plane—need not be locally connected (see below). This led to a rich vein of research in the first half of the twentieth century, in which topologists studied the implications between increasingly subtle and complex variations on the notion of a locally connected space. As an example, the notion of weak local connectedness at a point and its relation to local connectedness will be considered later on in the article. In the latter part of the twentieth century, research trends shifted to more intense study of spaces like manifolds, which are locally well understood (being locally homeomorphic to Euclidean space) but have complicated global behavior. By this it is meant that although the basic point-set topology of manifolds is relatively simple (as manifolds are essentially metrizable according to most definitions of the concept), their algebraic topology is far more complex. From this modern perspective, the stronger property of local path connectedness turns out to be more important: for instance, in order for a space to admit a universal cover it must be connected and locally path connected. Local path connectedness will be discussed as well. A space is locally connected if and only if for every open set ''U'', the connected components of ''U'' (in the subspace topology) are open. It follows, for instance, that a continuous function from a locally connected space to a totally disconnected space must be locally constant. In fact the openness of components is so natural that one must be sure to keep in mind that it is not true in general: for instance Cantor space is totally disconnected but not discrete space, discrete.


Let X be a topological space, and let x be a point of X. A space X is said to be (respectively, ) if for every open set V containing x, there exists a subset U \subseteq V containing x that is both Connected space, connected (respectively, Path connected space, path-connected) and an open subset of X. Said more succinctly, a space is locally connected (respectively, locally path connected) at a given point if and only if there exists a Neighbourhood system, neighborhood basis at that point consisting entirely of connected open neighborhoods (respectively, path connected open neighborhoods). A space X is said to be (respectively, ) if it is locally connected at x for every x \in X. Local connectedness does not imply connectedness (consider two disjoint open intervals in \R for example); and connectedness does not imply local connectedness (see the topologist's sine curve). Path connected spaces are connected and consequently, locally path connected spaces are #locally connected, locally connected. The converse does not hold (see some of the examples below). Removing the requirement that U be open in X leads to the following weaker notion. A space X is said to be weakly locally connected at x (or connected im kleinen at x) if for every open set V containing x there exists a connected subset N of V such that x lies in the Interior (topology), interior of N. An equivalent definition is: each open set V containing x contains an open neighborhood U of x such that any two points in U lie in some connected subset of V. A space X is called if it is weakly locally connected at x for every x \in X. The only difference between the two definitions is that for local connectedness at x we require a neighborhood base of ''open'' connected sets containing x, whereas for weak local connectedness at x we require only a neighborhood base of connected sets containing x. Said more succinctly, a space is weakly locally connected (respectively, locally connected) at a point x if and only if there exists a Neighbourhood system, neighborhood basis at x consisting entirely of connected (respectively, connected open) neighborhoods. Evidently a space that is locally connected at x is weakly locally connected at x. The converse does not hold (a counterexample, the broom space, is given below). On the other hand, it is equally clear that a #locally connected, locally connected space is #weakly locally connected, weakly locally connected, but here it turns out (as #Weak local connectedness implies local connectedness, proved below) that the converse does hold: a space that is weakly locally connected at all of its points is necessarily locally connected at all of its points.Willard, Theorem 27.16, p. 201 Thus It is shown that if X is a #weakly locally connected, weakly locally connected space then it is a #locally connected, locally connected space. It is sufficient to show that the components of open sets are open. Let U be open in X and let C be a component of U. Let x be an element of C. Then x is an element of U so that there is a connected subspace A of X contained in U and containing a neighbourhood V of x. Since A is connected and A contains x, A must be a subset of C (the component containing x). Therefore, the neighbourhood V of x is a subset of C, which shows that x is an interior point of C. Since x was an arbitrary point of C, C is open in X. Therefore, X is locally connected. By replacing the every instance of the word "connected" with "path connected" in the proof, it may be shown that a space is locally path connected if and only if every point has a Neighbourhood system, neighborhood basis consisting entirely of path connected neighborhood (mathematics), neighborhoods (these neighborhoods need not be open sets). Some authors use this latter condition (where neighborhoods need not be open) as the definition of "locally path connected space" instead of #locally path connected, the definition that was given. A certain infinite union of decreasing broom spaces is an example of a space that is weakly locally connected at a particular point, but not locally connected at that point.

First examples

# For any positive integer ''n'', the Euclidean space \R^n is locally path connected, thus locally connected; it is also connected. # More generally, every Locally convex topological vector space, locally convex topological vector space is locally connected, since each point has a local base of Convex set, convex (and hence connected) neighborhoods. # The subspace S = [0,1] \cup [2,3] of the real line \R^1 is locally path connected but not connected. # The topologist's sine curve is a subspace of the Euclidean plane that is connected, but not locally connected.Steen & Seebach, pp. 137–138 # The space \Q of rational numbers endowed with the standard Euclidean topology, is neither connected nor locally connected. # The comb space is path connected but not locally path connected, and not even locally connected. # A countably infinite set endowed with the cofinite topology is locally connected (indeed, hyperconnected) but not locally path connected. # The lexicographic order topology on the unit square is connected and locally connected, but not path connected, nor locally path connected. A first-countable Hausdorff space (X, \tau) is locally path-connected if and only if \tau is equal to the final topology on X induced by the set C([0, 1]; X) of all continuous paths [0, 1] \to (X, \tau). Further examples are given later on in the article.


# Local connectedness is, by definition, a local property of topological spaces, i.e., a topological property ''P'' such that a space ''X'' possesses property ''P'' if and only if each point ''x'' in ''X'' admits a neighborhood base of sets that have property ''P''. Accordingly, all the "metaproperties" held by a local property hold for local connectedness. In particular: # A space is locally connected if and only if it admits a base of (open) connected subsets. # The Disjoint union (topology), disjoint union \coprod_i X_i of a family \ of spaces is locally connected if and only if each X_i is locally connected. In particular, since a single point is certainly locally connected, it follows that any discrete space is locally connected. On the other hand, a discrete space is totally disconnected, so is connected only if it has at most one point. # Conversely, a totally disconnected space is locally connected if and only if it is discrete. This can be used to explain the aforementioned fact that the rational numbers are not locally connected. # A nonempty product space \prod_i X_i is locally connected if and only if each X_i is locally connected and all but finitely many of the X_i are connected. # Every hyperconnected space is locally connected, and connected.

Components and path components

The following result follows almost immediately from the definitions but will be quite useful: Lemma: Let ''X'' be a space, and \ a family of subsets of ''X''. Suppose that \bigcap_i Y_i is nonempty. Then, if each Y_i is connected (respectively, path connected) then the union \bigcup_i Y_i is connected (respectively, path connected). Now consider two relations on a topological space ''X'': for x,y \in X, write: :x \equiv_c y if there is a connected subset of ''X'' containing both ''x'' and ''y''; and : x \equiv_ y if there is a path connected subset of ''X'' containing both ''x'' and ''y''. Evidently both relations are reflexive and symmetric. Moreover, if ''x'' and ''y'' are contained in a connected (respectively, path connected) subset ''A'' and ''y'' and ''z'' are connected in a connected (respectively, path connected) subset ''B'', then the Lemma implies that A \cup B is a connected (respectively, path connected) subset containing ''x'', ''y'' and ''z''. Thus each relation is an equivalence relation, and defines a partition of ''X'' into equivalence classes. We consider these two partitions in turn. For ''x'' in ''X'', the set C_x of all points ''y'' such that y \equiv_c x is called the connected component (topology), connected component of ''x''. The Lemma implies that C_x is the unique maximal connected subset of ''X'' containing ''x''.Willard, Problem 26B, pp. 195–196 Since the closure of C_x is also a connected subset containing ''x'', it follows that C_x is closed. If ''X'' has only finitely many connected components, then each component is the complement of a finite union of closed sets and therefore open. In general, the connected components need not be open, since, e.g., there exist totally disconnected spaces (i.e., C_x = \ for all points ''x'') that are not discrete, like Cantor space. However, the connected components of a locally connected space are also open, and thus are clopen sets. It follows that a locally connected space ''X'' is a topological disjoint union \coprod C_x of its distinct connected components. Conversely, if for every open subset ''U'' of ''X'', the connected components of ''U'' are open, then ''X'' admits a base of connected sets and is therefore locally connected. Similarly ''x'' in ''X'', the set PC_x of all points ''y'' such that y \equiv_ x is called the ''path component'' of ''x''.Willard, Problem 27D, p. 202 As above, PC_x is also the union of all path connected subsets of ''X'' that contain ''x'', so by the Lemma is itself path connected. Because path connected sets are connected, we have PC_x \subseteq C_x for all x \in X. However the closure of a path connected set need not be path connected: for instance, the topologist's sine curve is the closure of the open subset ''U'' consisting of all points ''(x,y)'' with ''x > 0'', and ''U'', being homeomorphic to an interval on the real line, is certainly path connected. Moreover, the path components of the topologist's sine curve ''C'' are ''U'', which is open but not closed, and C \setminus U, which is closed but not open. A space is locally path connected if and only if for all open subsets ''U'', the path components of ''U'' are open. Therefore the path components of a locally path connected space give a partition of ''X'' into pairwise disjoint open sets. It follows that an open connected subspace of a locally path connected space is necessarily path connected. Moreover, if a space is locally path connected, then it is also locally connected, so for all x \in X, C_x is connected and open, hence path connected, that is, C_x = PC_x. That is, for a locally path connected space the components and path components coincide.


# The set I \times I (where I = [0, 1]) in the Lexicographical order, dictionary order topology has exactly one component (because it is connected) but has uncountably many path components. Indeed, any set of the form \ \times I is a path component for each ''a'' belonging to ''I''. # Let f : \R \to \R_ be a continuous map from \R to \R_ (which is \R in the lower limit topology). Since \R is connected, and the image of a connected space under a continuous map must be connected, the image of \R under f must be connected. Therefore, the image of \R under f must be a subset of a component of \R_/ Since this image is nonempty, the only continuous maps from '\R to \R_, are the constant maps. In fact, any continuous map from a connected space to a totally disconnected space must be constant.


Let ''X'' be a topological space. We define a third relation on ''X'': x \equiv_ y if there is no separation of ''X'' into open sets ''A'' and ''B'' such that ''x'' is an element of ''A'' and ''y'' is an element of ''B''. This is an equivalence relation on ''X'' and the equivalence class QC_x containing ''x'' is called the quasicomponent of ''x''. QC_x can also be characterized as the intersection of all clopen subsets of ''X'' that contain ''x''. Accordingly QC_x is closed; in general it need not be open. Evidently C_x \subseteq QC_x for all x \in X. Overall we have the following containments among path components, components and quasicomponents at ''x'': PC_x \subseteq C_x \subseteq QC_x. If ''X'' is locally connected, then, as above, C_x is a clopen set containing ''x'', so QC_x \subseteq C_x and thus QC_x = C_x. Since local path connectedness implies local connectedness, it follows that at all points ''x'' of a locally path connected space we have PC_x = C_x = QC_x. Another class of spaces for which the quasicomponents agree with the components is the class of compact Hausdorff spaces.


# An example of a space whose quasicomponents are not equal to its components is a sequence with a double limit point. This space is totally disconnected, but both limit points lie in the same quasicomponent, because any clopen set containing one of them must contain a tail of the sequence, and thus the other point too. # The space (\\cup\) \times [-1,1] \setminus \ is locally compact and Hausdorff but the sets \ \times [-1,0) and \ \times (0,1] are two different components which lie in the same quasicomponent. # The Arens–Fort space is not locally connected, but nevertheless the components and the quasicomponents coincide: indeed QC_x = C_x = \ for all points ''x''.Steen & Seebach, pp. 54-55


See also

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* * John L. Kelley; General Topology; * . * * Stephen Willard; General Topology; Dover Publications, 2004.

Further reading

* . For Hausdorff spaces, it is shown that any continuous function from a connected locally connected space into a connected space with a dispersion point is constant * . {{DEFAULTSORT:Locally Connected Space Articles containing proofs Properties of topological spaces General topology