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Exploring sprawl: Results from an economic agent-based model of land and housing markets

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  • Magliocca, Nicholas
  • McConnell, Virginia
  • Walls, Margaret

Abstract

This paper uses an economic agent-based model of land use in a growing community on the urban fringe to explore the importance of key economic variables on the spatial patterns of development over time. Understanding dispersed patterns of urban development is important for designing policies for mitigating the environmental and other adverse effects of urban “sprawl”. The model includes as agents heterogeneous farmer/landowners and housing consumers, and a representative developer who buys land and builds houses. Underlying economic behavior of consumer utility maximization and developer and farmer profit maximization is assumed. A unique feature of the model is that housing is characterized by variation in both lot size and house size, allowing for exploration of the effects of changes in key parameters on both land and housing markets and the interaction between them. The paper explores the relative importance of consumer preferences, spatial distribution of agricultural productivity, and travel costs in creating sprawling development patterns. Consumer preferences for large lots do result in more land in development and lower density, but leap frog development in the model appears to be driven by other economic influences as well. And, in general, more stable housing prices mute the effect of more variable land prices and tend to dampen the effects of economic shocks to the urbanizing area.

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  • Magliocca, Nicholas & McConnell, Virginia & Walls, Margaret, 2015. "Exploring sprawl: Results from an economic agent-based model of land and housing markets," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 113(C), pages 114-125.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:113:y:2015:i:c:p:114-125
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2015.02.020
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    Cited by:

    1. Zhang, Honghui & Zeng, Yongnian & Jin, Xiaobin & Shu, Bangrong & Zhou, Yinkang & Yang, Xuhong, 2016. "Simulating multi-objective land use optimization allocation using Multi-agent system—A case study in Changsha, China," Ecological Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 320(C), pages 334-347.
    2. repec:eee:ecolec:v:146:y:2018:i:c:p:173-183 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Salvati, Luca & Sateriano, Adele & Grigoriadis, Efstathios & Carlucci, Margherita, 2017. "New wine in old bottles: The (changing) socioeconomic attributes of sprawl during building boom and stagnation," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 131(C), pages 361-372.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Housing density; Land conversion; Urban fringe; Computational methods;

    JEL classification:

    • C63 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - Computational Techniques
    • R14 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Land Use Patterns
    • R31 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Real Estate Markets, Spatial Production Analysis, and Firm Location - - - Housing Supply and Markets
    • R21 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Housing Demand
    • Q24 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - Land
    • C63 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - Computational Techniques

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