Cite as: Boeing, G. 2015. “The Effects of Inequality, Density, and Heterogeneous Residential Preferences on Urban Displacement and Metropolitan Structure: An Agent-Based Model.” Working paper. doi:10.17605/OSF.IO/WKARZ
Urban displacement – when a household is forced to relocate due to conditions affecting its home or surroundings – is frequently caused by rising housing costs, particularly in wealthy, prosperous cities. However, its dynamics are complex and often difficult to understand. This paper presents an agent-based model (ABM) of urban settlement, agglomeration, displacement, and sprawl. New human settlements form around a natural amenity that draws initial, poor settlers to subsist on the resource. As the settlement grows, subsequent settlers of varying income, skills, and interests are heterogeneously drawn to either 1) the natural amenity or 2) the emerging human agglomeration. As the agglomeration grows and densifies, land values increase, and the initial poor settlers may be displaced away from the natural amenity on which they relied. Through path dependence, high-income residents remain clustered around this natural amenity for which they have no direct use or interest. The agent-based model presented here explores the dynamics of this process. In particular, it reveals how urban displacement and gentrification can be sensitive to income inequality, density, and varied preferences for different types of spatial amenities.