Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Exploring Creativity and Urban Development with Agent-Based Modeling

There is considerable debate about "creative cities" and relatively few agent-based models that explore such ideas from the bottom up. To that end we have recently published a paper in the Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation entitled: "Exploring Creativity and Urban Development through Agent-Based Modeling"

In the paper we introduce the Creative City Model, an exploratory ABM to simulate the theoretical relationship between land-use regulation, urban mobility and societal tolerance on the economic performance of cities. The model is based on simplified assumptions from our empirically informed understanding of urban morphology, economic geography and the diffusion of creativity from human interactions.  It contributes to the growing literature exploring the dynamic socioeconomic processes underlying urban economic growth through computer simulation. Specifically the model offers a new lens to view the diffusion of creativity through knowledge spillovers under various scenarios from the bottom up. Through experimentation, the model suggests the existence of tradeoffs between the desire for social equity, estimated via rent affordability, and the rapid diffusion of creativity. Below you can find the abstract of the paper.

Scholars and urban planners have suggested that the key characteristic of leading world cities is that they attract the highest quality human talent through educational and professional opportunities. They offer enabling environments for productive human interactions and the growth of knowledge-based industries which drives economic growth through innovation. Both through hard and soft infrastructure, they offer physical connectivity which fosters human creativity and results in higher income levels. When combined with population density, socioeconomic diversity and societal tolerance; the elevated interaction intensity improves productivity. In many developing country cities however, rapid urbanization is increasing sprawl and causing deteriorating in public service standards. We further explore these insights by creating a stylized agent-based model where heterogeneous and independent decision-making agents interact under the following scenarios: (1) improved urban transportation investments; (2) mixed land-use regulations; and (3) reduced residential segregation. We find that any combination of scenarios resulting in conditions of intense human interaction results in greater economic growth. However, model results also demonstrate a clear trade-off between rapid economic progress and socioeconomic equity mainly due to the crowding out of low- and middle-income households from clusters of creativity. 

Key Words: Agent-Based Modeling; Developing Countries; Urban; Segregation; Land-use; Transportation
The movie below shows a typical simulation run of the model.

Further details about the model along with its ODD is available from the OpenABM website (click here).

Full Reference:
Malik, A.A., Crooks, A.T., Root, H.L. and Swartz, M. (2015), Exploring Creativity and Urban Development through Agent-Based Modeling, Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation. 18 (2): 12. Available at http://jasss.soc.surrey.ac.uk/18/2/12.html

No comments: