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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The California Urban Futures Model: A New Generation of Metropolitan Simulation Models


The California Urban Futures model is the first in a new generation of metropolitan simulation models which replicate realistic urban growth patterns and the impacts of development policy at various levels of government. It projects population from the 'bottom-up', it allocates growth to sites based on development profitability, it realistically embodies the role of accessibility in the development process, and it is operated through the medium of geographic information systems. This paper is an explanation of the rationale of the model and the way it has been built in terms of its formal structure, its databases, its decision rules which reflect the development process, and its application to the San Francisco Bay Area where it has been used to evaluate the impact of a diverse set of development policies. The paper concludes with an agenda for further model development.

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