SFB 504 discussion paper 03-22

Brian Deal
Department of Urban and Regional Planning
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL 61801

Daniel Schunk
University of Zürich Institute for Empirical Research in Economics
Blümlisalpstr. 10 CH-8006 Zürich Switzerland

Spatial Dynamic Modeling and Urban Land Use Transformation:

Assessing the economic impacts of urban land use transformation has become complex and acrimonious. Although community planners are beginning to comprehend the economic trade-offs inherent in transforming the urban fringe, they find it increasingly difficult to analyze and assess the trade-offs expediently and in ways that can influence local decisionmaking. New and sophisticated spatial modeling techniques are now being applied to urban systems that can quickly assess the probable spatial outcomes of given communal policies. Applying an economic impact assessment to the probable spatial patterns can provide to planners the tools needed to quickly assess scenarios for policy formation that will ultimately help inform decision makers. This paper focuses on the theoretical underpinnings and practical application of an economic impact analysis submodel developed within the Land use Evolution and Impact Assessment Modeling (LEAM) environment. The conceptual framework of LEAM is described, followed by an application of the model to the assessment of the cost of urban sprawl in Kane County, Illinois. The results show the effectiveness of spatially explicit modeling from a theoretical and a practical point of view. The agent-based approach of spatial dynamic modeling with a high spatial resolution allows for discerning the macro-level implications of micro-level behaviors. These phenomena are highlighted in the economic submodel in the discussion of the implications of land use change decisions on individual and communal costs; low-density development patterns favoring individual behaviors at the expense of the broader community.
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