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Simulation of urban development in the City of Rome: Framework, methodology, and problem solving


  • Di Zio, Simone

    () (G. d'Annunzio University)

  • Montanari, Armando

    (Rome Sapienza University)

  • Staniscia, Barbara

    (Rome sapienza University)


In Italy’s case, the implementation of the UrbanSIM model involved the territory of Rome, including the municipalities of Rome and Fiumicino. The main goal was to build scenarios regarding the future of economic deconcentration. Rome is the largest municipality in Europe, with an inhabited surface area only slightly smaller than that of Greater London and almost double that of the inner Paris suburbs (the Petite Couronne). The spatial distribution of buildings within the municipality is distinctive. Unbuilt areas comprise 73 percent of the territory. These voids are often farmland (paradoxically, Rome is the largest rural municipality in Italy) or areas with high environmental, historic or cultural value. Fiumicino, previously part of the municipality of Rome, became an independent municipality in 1991. Its autonomy, made all the more significant because Fiumicino hosts the international airport, marked the start of an extensive process of economic deconcentration along the route connecting Rome to the airport. In Italy’s case, the implementation of the UrbanSIM model posed several challenges, notably the availability, homogeneity and completeness of data. This paper uses four specific cases (land use, travel times, accessibility, and residential land values) to propose a general methodology to solve problems related to missing or non-homogeneous data. For the land use, we simply combine two different land use data sources, while for accessibility and travel time data, we propose the use of geostatistical methods in order to estimate missing and unavailable data, calculating also the accuracy of the predictions. For the residential land values, which are discrete data, we suggest the use of deterministic interpolation techniques. While it has not yet been possible to implement the calibration stage, some simulation outputs are presented.

Suggested Citation

  • Di Zio, Simone & Montanari, Armando & Staniscia, Barbara, 2010. "Simulation of urban development in the City of Rome: Framework, methodology, and problem solving," The Journal of Transport and Land Use, Center for Transportation Studies, University of Minnesota, vol. 3(2), pages 85-105.
  • Handle: RePEc:ris:jtralu:0032

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Cynthia Chen & Hongmian Gong & Robert Paaswell, 2008. "Role of the built environment on mode choice decisions: additional evidence on the impact of density," Transportation, Springer, vol. 35(3), pages 285-299, May.
    2. Paul Krugman, 2011. "The New Economic Geography, Now Middle-aged," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 45(1), pages 1-7.
    3. Michael Storper, 2011. "From Retro to Avant-garde: A Commentary on Paul Krugman's 'The New Economic Geography, Now Middle-aged'," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 45(1), pages 9-15.
    4. Krugman, Paul, 1991. "Increasing Returns and Economic Geography," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(3), pages 483-499, June.
    5. David Levinson & Ajay Kumar, 1997. "Density and the Journey to Work," Working Papers 199701, University of Minnesota: Nexus Research Group.
    6. David Levinson, 2008. "Density and dispersion: the co-development of land use and rail in London," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 8(1), pages 55-77, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Felsenstein, Daniel & Axhausen, Kay & Waddell, Paul, 2010. "Land use-transportation modeling with UrbanSim: Experiences and progress," The Journal of Transport and Land Use, Center for Transportation Studies, University of Minnesota, vol. 3(2), pages 1-3.
    2. Marko Kryvobokov & Aurélie Mercier & Alain Bonnafous & Dominique Bouf, 2013. "Simulating housing prices with UrbanSim: predictive capacity and sensitivity analysis," Letters in Spatial and Resource Sciences, Springer, vol. 6(1), pages 31-44, March.
    3. Tomassi, Federico, 2014. "Changes in the Eternal City: Inequalities, commons, and elections in Rome districts from 2000 to 2013," MPRA Paper 56227, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item


    Land Use; Development; Density;

    JEL classification:

    • R40 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Transportation Economics - - - General


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