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Utility-based Multi-agent System with Spatial Interactions: The Case of Virtual Estate Development


  • Dominique Prunetti


  • Alexandre Muzy
  • Eric Innocenti
  • Xavier Pieri


A multi-agent system is presented here. Agent decisions are based on economic partial utilities. It’s a new computational tool using cellular and agent-based models. Decision processes are represented through computational agents. Land-use and land cover changes are represented through a cellular model. It belongs to kind of models called Multi-Agent Systems model of Land-Use Cover Change. Decisions concern the estate development in the neighborhood of the agents. Space is discretized in heterogeneous cells where heterogeneous agents interact together (directly or via space). Based on partial utility probabilities, several stochastic simulations are achieved. These simulations are then summarized, replicated and a parameter sensitivity analysis provided. The main parameters influencing the decisions of an agent depend on his type (ecologist, etc.) and on the expected economic activities in his neighborhood. Little information is assumed to be known about the mechanisms determining the parameter values guiding the decisions of the agents, except their type. The whole system constitutes a general virtual model, mostly independent from initial conditions and real data. Sensitivity analysis are used to explore behavioral paths and influencing parameters. In summary, the main contribution of this paper consists in: (i) defining a simulation-based framework for modeling the decisions of many heterogeneous economic agents involved in spatial interactions; (ii) capturing the decision process using general utility-based equations; (iii) providing a sensitivity analysis of initial parameter values. An example of possible application investigating strategies of various categories of agents (institutions, landowners, homeowners, etc.) facing an intense residential development is provided. The framework consists of abstracting institutional characteristics of actual local Urbanism Plan procedures in France. This model constitutes a first step to be further specified. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Suggested Citation

  • Dominique Prunetti & Alexandre Muzy & Eric Innocenti & Xavier Pieri, 2014. "Utility-based Multi-agent System with Spatial Interactions: The Case of Virtual Estate Development," Computational Economics, Springer;Society for Computational Economics, vol. 43(3), pages 271-299, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:compec:v:43:y:2014:i:3:p:271-299
    DOI: 10.1007/s10614-013-9372-0

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Tommaso Gabrieli, 2016. "Spatial Segregation, Redistribution and Welfare: A Theoretical Model," Urban Planning, Cogitatio Press, vol. 1(1), pages 68-78.


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