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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Regional land use allocation models and their application to planning Fricker, Urs Josef


In the planning profession there is increasing recognition of the complex relationship of variables in an urban region which impede rational decision-making. In order to cope with this problem, quantitative models have been developed in recent years. It is the purpose of this study to investigate and evaluate the present stage of model-building as it applies to regional planning. It is hypothesized that the application of land use allocation models is a desirable aid for rational decisionmaking in regional planning. The study begins with an outline of the theoretical basis for building land use allocation models: economic location theory and social physics. Economic location theory is mainly concerned with finding criteria for a rational choice of the location for a firm or a household. In this context, the concept of economic rent is discussed. In order to give explanations of the land use patterns within a region the basic notion in respect to agricultural production is developed and then extended to the urban land uses. The second approach to land use allocation models, social physics, is mainly based on statistical regularities in explaining human mass behavior. The most commonly employed concept is the gravity principle, which is an attempt to apply Newton's physical law of gravitation to social, mass behavior. This concept is very often applied in community and regional planning and has yielded acceptable results in a great number of studies. In part three the most important elements and steps in the process of model-building are discussed, including rules or standards which should be considered by a model-builder. First of all, a wide range of types of models are examined in order that the proper model may be selected for an actual regional planning problem. The design process is also discussed in some detail and it is shown that there is evidence of fundamental criteria for model building. Part four is concerned with three selected existing regional land use allocation models. The model of the Pittsburgh Region was the first operational model on a regional level and its ingenuity influenced numerous model-builders. One of the most salient findings of this model, which is mainly based on social physics, relates to the fact that the gravity principle seems to have enough flexibility to comprehend the spatial pattern of land uses within an urban region. The model of the State of Connecticut is based on the shift-analysis framework and distributes three population and six employment groups to the 169 towns of the State of Connecticut. Its basic feature is the ability to replicate the structure of a region as large as a state and it is therefore of great interest as a macro-approach. The structure of the model is relatively simple and the data requirements are not intensive. Hence, it seems that such a model framework could serve as a sound basis for models in other study areas. The Bay Area Simulation Study is one of the most recent models. It introduces a high level of disaggregation and assumptions which are based, to some extent, on economic location theory. Hence, it can be said that its basic concept relates to the working mechanism of the market process. The structure of the model is based on a number of interrelated submodels, including a set of employment allocation models and a set of residential allocation models. The final part of this study relates the findings of the preceding parts to regional planning. It is shown that regional planning is fundamentally a locational problem. In addition, some experiences of model application by planning agencies are discussed. These experiences emphasize the fact that, the essential feature of land use allocation models is to improve the rationality of decision-making. By comparing the advantages of models with the principal difficulties in application it is then possible to derive the final conclusion that land use allocation models are a desirable aid for rational decision-making in regional planning.

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