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Spatially Integrated Social Science: Chapter 4
< Chapter 3- Chapter 5 >

Agent-Based Modeling: From Individual Residential Choice to Urban Residential Dynamics
Itzhak Benenson

Householder residential choice and residential mobility are among the touchstones of theoretical and applied study of urban systems. Agent-Based (AB) models of these processes imitate the explicit behavior of individual migrating householders; they thereby integrate modern social spatial science with urban theory and applications. Spatially explicit agent-based models account for the real-world heterogeneity of urban infrastructure and population, and enable comprehension and forecasting of urban spatial population dynamics based on high-resolution municipal and census GIS databases. From the perspective of AB modeling, regional or global urban dynamics represent outcomes of agent behavior yet influence those agents’ characteristics and behavior in turn.

The chapter reviews state-of-the-art AB modeling of urban residential dynamics, including a review of the social foundations and empirical studies that provide the basis for the model's validation. The analysis demonstrates the macro-level outcomes of the co-adaptive local behavior of multiple agents in terms of the evolution of residential segregation, neighborhood formation, and emergence/decline of socio-cultural groups. The simulation of residential dynamics in the Yaffo area in Tel Aviv (population: 30,000) provides an example of the application of the AB model to the real-world problems.


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