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An activity-based cellular automaton model to simulate land-use dynamics


  • Jasper van Vliet
  • Jelle Hurkens
  • Roger White
  • Hedwig van Delden


In recent decades several methods have been proposed to simulate land-use changes in a spatially explicit way. In these models land is generally represented on a lattice with cell states indicating the predominant land use. Since a cell can have only one state, mixed land uses and different densities of one land use can only be introduced superficially, as separate cell states. In this paper we describe a cellular automata model that simulates dynamics in both land uses and activities, where activities represent quantitative information, such as the number of inhabitants at a location. Therefore each cell has associated with it (1) a value representing one of a finite set of land-use classes, and (2) a vector of numerical values representing the quantity of each modelled activity that is present at that location. This allows simulation of incremental changes as well as mixed land uses. The proposed model is tested with a synthetic application that uses two activities: population and jobs. It simulates the emergence of human settlements over time from local interactions between activities and land uses. Assessment of results indicates that the model generates realistic urbanization patterns.

Suggested Citation

  • Jasper van Vliet & Jelle Hurkens & Roger White & Hedwig van Delden, 2012. "An activity-based cellular automaton model to simulate land-use dynamics," Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 39(2), pages 198-212, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:pio:envirb:v:39:y:2012:i:2:p:198-212

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