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Bayesian methods to estimate urban growth potential

May 24, 2017

Urban growth often influences the production of ecosystem services. The impacts of urbanization on landscapes can subsequently affect landowners’ perceptions, values and decisions regarding their land. Within land-use and land-change research, very few models of dynamic landscape-scale processes like urbanization incorporate empirically-grounded landowner decision-making processes. Very little attention has focused on the heterogeneous decision-making processes that aggregate to influence broader-scale patterns of urbanization. We examine the land-use tradeoffs faced by individual landowners in one of the United States’ most rapidly urbanizing regions − the urban area surrounding Charlotte, North Carolina. We focus on the land-use decisions of non-industrial private forest owners located across the region’s development gradient. A discrete choice experiment is used to determine the critical factors influencing individual forest owners’ intent to sell their undeveloped properties across a series of experimentally varied scenarios of urban growth. Data are analyzed using a hierarchical Bayesian approach. The estimates derived from the survey data are used to modify a spatially-explicit trend-based urban development potential model, derived from remotely-sensed imagery and observed changes in the region’s socioeconomic and infrastructural characteristics between 2000 and 2011. This modeling approach combines the theoretical underpinnings of behavioral economics with spatiotemporal data describing a region’s historical development patterns. By integrating empirical social preference data into spatially-explicit urban growth models, we begin to more realistically capture processes as well as patterns that drive the location, magnitude and rates of urban growth.

Publication Year 2017
Title Bayesian methods to estimate urban growth potential
DOI 10.1016/j.landurbplan.2017.03.004
Authors Jordan W. Smith, Lindsey S. Smart, Monica Dorning, Lauren Nicole Dupéy, Andréanne Méley, Ross K. Meentemeyer
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Landscape and Urban Planning
Index ID 70187913
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Geosciences and Environmental Change Science Center