Defining agents' behaviour based on urban economic theory to simulate complex urban residential dynamics

Yimin Chen, Xia Li, Shujie Wang, Xiaoping Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


In recent years, agent-based models (ABMs) have become a prevalent approach for modelling complex urban systems. As a class of bottom-up method, ABMs are capable of simulating the decision-making as well as the multiple interactions of autonomous agents and between agents and the environment. The definition of agents' behaviour is a vital issue in implementing ABMs to simulate urban dynamics. Urban economic theory has provided effective ways to cope with this problem. This theory argues that the formation of urban spatial structure is an endogenous process resulting from the interactions among individual actors that are spatially distributed. However, this theory is used to explain urban phenomena regardless of spatial heterogeneity in most cases. This study combines GIS, ABM and urban economic models to simulate complex urban residential dynamics. The time-extended model is incorporated into an ABM so as to define agents' behaviour on a solid theoretical basis. A spatial variable is defined to address the neighbourhood effect by considering spatial heterogeneity. The proposed model is first verified by the simulation of three scenarios using hypothetical data: (1) single dominated preference; (2) varying preferences on the basis of income level; and (3) spatially heterogeneous environment. Then the model is implemented by simulating the residential dynamics in Guangzhou, China.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1155-1172
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal of Geographical Information Science
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Information Systems
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Library and Information Sciences


Dive into the research topics of 'Defining agents' behaviour based on urban economic theory to simulate complex urban residential dynamics'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this