Simulating Land Use: An Exploration of the Stability of a Two Zone City

Andy Tran


This project simulates the Concentric Zone model (Ernest Burgess, 1925) using the agent-based simulation software COBWEB, which allows comparison of transportation costs in determining the distribution of agents after a set period of time. The energy an individual uses to move one grid cell is the parameter factor used to represent transportation costs. It was hypothesized that setting up this experiment to recreate a concentric zone environment will develop a stable environment with individual agents staying in their respective zones as determined by transportation costs. However, over a period of time, the agent population would diminish or the zones won’t be as clearly expressed.

In the control experiment, each agent type stayed in their respective zones and the agent count remained consistent throughout the simulation. Two more experiments were performed to observe their respective effects on the model. By increasing the number of agents, this experiment had similar averages compared the control experiment, indicating that there is a carrying capacity in order to maximize the agent’s survival. By changing AI strategies, one of the agents completely died out, suggesting that the agent’s specific AI strategy for its movement and consumption is important to consider when performing experiments.

Modelling the distribution of the agents and observing the key factors affecting this distribution is useful for urban planning and transportation management. Additional research to introduce parameters for housing costs is worth exploring in future research activities to provide more interesting and detailed results from the simulation.

Ce projet simule le Plan Radiocentrique, un concept qui a été créé par Ernest Burgess, un économiste influencé par von Thünen (Ernest Burgess, 1925). En particulier, ce projet utilise « COBWEB,  »  un logiciel de simulation à base d'agents qui permet la comparaison entre les coûts de transport et d'autres facteurs essentiels pour déterminer le résultat. L'énergie qu'un individu utilise pour déplacer une cellule de la grille a été le paramètre facteur utilisé pour représenter les coûts de transport. L'établissement de cette expérience avec un but de recréer un environnement de zone concentrique permettra de créer un environnement stable avec des agents individuels qui restent dans leurs zones respectives telles que déterminées par les coûts de transport. Au fil du temps, la population des agents diminuera, en affectant la stabilité de la zone.

La modélisation de la distribution des agents et l'observation des facteurs clés qui influencent cette distribution sont utiles pour la planification urbaine et la gestion des transports. Des recherches supplémentaires pour introduire des paramètres pour les frais de logement méritent d'être explorées.



COBWEB; Agent-Based Simulation; Urban Land Use; Concentric Zones; Transportation Costs

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Park, Robert, Ernest W. Burgess and Roderick D. McKenzie. The City. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1925.



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