Peter Marcotullio & Carson Farmer, Hunter College, City University of New York, New York, NY, USA

Presentation Title: Generalized agent-based model for urbanization projections to the year 2100



This presentation shared preliminary results from the development of an agent-based model focused on cities as agents, in order to project urbanization to the year 2100. The model presented urban change as a multi-dimensional process that involves demographic and other socio-economic change, built environment transformations (buildings and infrastructure), land-use change and changes in the natural environment. Data inputs came from different sources for each of these four dimensions. Baseline results are shown for five countries in different regions around the world (China, Asia; United States, North America; Brazil, South America; South Africa, Africa; United Kingdom, Europe). Both the preliminary model as well as the modeled outputs by decade for each of these nations were presented including modeled results from 2000 to 2010 to historical patterns in a selected area.

Key Lessons Learned

Over time there has been a shift and a ‘bulge’ in the lower latitudes (50° South – 85° North) comparable to the biodiversity gradient, i.e., people currently live in areas of low biodiversity, but in the future they are predicted to live in areas of higher biodiversity.

Policy/Practice Implications of Research

Understanding the connections between future urbanization and the overlaps with biodiversity hotspots, including how many species might be affected, will offer insight into if and how future urbanization  could benefit biodiversity and inform urban planning and conservation policies. 

Knowledge Gaps and Needs

This is preliminary work that will require building upon the framework that already exists towards creating a baseline model against which additional models can be validated;  historical examples and more theory development and integration as well as the gathering of further data (e.g., land use, economic activity) will be needed.