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Microsimulation of Residential Activity for Alternative Urban Development Scenarios: A Case Study on Brussels and Flemish Brabant

Frederik Priem (), Philip Stessens () and Frank Canters ()
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Frederik Priem: Cartography and GIS Research Group, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, 1050 Brussels, Belgium
Philip Stessens: Building, Architecture and Town Planning, Université Libre de Bruxelles, 1050 Brussels, Belgium
Frank Canters: Cartography and GIS Research Group, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, 1050 Brussels, Belgium

Sustainability, 2020, vol. 12, issue 6, 1-28

Abstract: The historically rooted suburbanization of Flanders and the Brussels Capital Region (BCR) in Belgium has resulted in severe urban sprawl, traffic congestion, natural land degradation and many related problems. Recent policy proposals put forward by the two regions aim for more compact urban development in well-serviced areas. Yet, it is unclear how these proposed policies may impact residential dynamics over the coming decades. To address this issue, we developed a Residential Microsimulation (RM) framework that spatially refines coarse-scale demographic projections at the district level to the level of census tracts. The validation of simulated changes from 2001 to 2011 reveals that the proposed framework succeeds in modelling historic trends and clearly outperforms a random model. To support simulation from 2011 to 2040, two alternative urban development scenarios are defined. The Business As Usual (BAU) scenario essentially represents a continuation of urban sprawl development, whereas the Sustainable Development (SUS) scenario strives for higher-density development around strategic well-serviced nodes in line with proposed policies. This study demonstrates how residential microsimulation supported by scenario analysis can play a constructive role in urban policy design and evaluation.

Keywords: Residential location choice; Urban sprawl; Compact development; Discrete choice modelling; Scenario analysis; Flanders (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: O13 Q Q0 Q2 Q3 Q5 Q56 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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