Exurban land cover and land market evolution: Analysis, review and computational experimentation of spatial and agent heterogeneity from the bottom up
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This dissertation investigates selected empirical and theoretical aspects of land-use and land-cover change (LUCC) in exurban areas. Two challenges – observation and monitoring of LUCC, and spatially explicit modeling, are addressed using three main approaches – measuring, reviewing and agent-based modeling (ABM). All of these approaches focus on LUCC at the individual household level, investigating how micro-scale elements interact to influence macro-scale functional patterns—bottom-up analysis. First, the temporal change of the quantity and pattern of land-cover types within exurban residential parcels in three townships in the southeastern Michigan is examined using landscape metrics and local indicators of spatial association at the parcel and parcel-neighborhood level respectively. The results demonstrate that the number and area of exurban residential parcels increased steadily from 1960 to 2000, and different land-cover types have distinctive temporal changes over time. The results also indicate that there is a convergence process at the neighborhood level through which the quantity and pattern of land cover in parcels conform with the neighborhood appearance. Second, 51 urban residential choice models based on ABM are reviewed. The results divide these models into three categories (i.e. models based on classical theories, models focusing on different stages of urbanization process; and integrated ABM and microsimulation models). This review also compares the differences among these models in their representations of three essential features brought by the technique of ABM: agent heterogeneity, the land market and output measurement. Challenges in incorporating these features, such as the trade-off between the simplicity and abstraction of model and the complexity of urban residential system, interactions of multiple features and demands for data at individual level, are also discussed. Third, the effects of agent heterogeneity on spatial and socioeconomic outcomes under different levels of land-market representations are explored through three experiments using a stylized agent-based land-market model. The results reveal that budget heterogeneity has prominent effects on socioeconomic outcomes, while preference heterogeneity is highly pertinent to spatial outcomes. The relationship between agent heterogeneity and macro-measures becomes more complex as more land-market mechanisms are represented. The results also imply that land-market representation (e.g., competitive bidding) is indispensable to reproduce the results of classical urban land market models (e.g., monocentric city model) in a spatial ABM when agents are heterogeneous.