A review of urban residential choice models using agent-based modeling

Qingxu Huang, Dawn C. Parker, Tatiana Filatova, Shipeng Sun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

91 Citations (Scopus)


Urban land-use modeling methods have experienced substantial improvements in the last several decades. With the advancement of urban land-use change theories and modeling techniques, a considerable number of models have been developed. The relatively young approach, agent-based modeling, provides urban land-use models with some new features and can help address the challenges faced by traditional models. Applications of agent-based models to study urban dynamics have increased steadily over the last twenty years. To offer a retrospective on the developments in agent-based models (ABMs) of urban residential choices, we review fifty-one relevant models that fall into three general categories: (i) urban land-use models based on classical theories; (ii) different stages of the urbanization process; and (iii) integrated agent-based and microsimulation models. We summarize and compare the main features of these fifty-one models within each category. This review focuses on three fundamental new features introduced byABMs. The first is agent heterogeneity with particular attention to the method of introducing heterogeneity in agents’ attributes and behaviors. The second is the representation of land-market processes, namely preferences, resources constraints, competitive bidding, and endogenous relocation. The third is the method of measuring the extensive model outputs. In addition, we outline accompanying challenges to, and open questions for, incorporating these new features. We conclude that, by modeling agent heterogeneity and land markets, and by exploiting a much broader dimension of output, we will enhance our understanding of urban land-use change and are hopefully able to improve model fitness and robustness.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)661-689
JournalEnvironment and planning. Part B: Planning and design
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • METIS-304796
  • IR-91609


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