Urban Economics: Simulation Study

sq_p1.jpg (2753 bytes)This site provides a simulation study program for a monocentric city where you can observe how the characteristics of cities change in response to the changes in urban parameter values such as commuting costs, income, and so on.

Down below, you can find two links for two simulation programs: an open urban model and a closed urban model. The two models share the same assumptions that the households in a city have the same income and preference and people live in a monocentric city with a dense hub-and-spoke commuting network. For the mathematical details of the two models, you can refer to the book by Professor John Yinger, "Lecture Notes in Urban Economics and Urban Policy."

This simulation program runs on JAVA Runtime Environment (JRE), so your computer should have it installed. Go java.com, download Java for Windows, and install it. Java applets are not now allowed in most web browsers, but if you still have Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE), you can use this simulation program by following the directions.

First, open the "Control Panel" of your computer, then choose the "Program." Then, you can see Java (32bits) with the Java icon. The Java control panel will pop up, then select the Security tab. At the bottom of the Security panel, you can add my homepage url (http://itip.kaist.ac.kr) to the Site List with Exceptions.

Second, After opening the IE, select "Tools," "Internet Options," "Security" tab, "Trustable Sites," and "Sites," where you need to add also my homepage url. After adding my homepage url, close the IE, reopen it and then go to http://itip.kaist.ac.kr/urban. Upon visiting the site, a window pops up asking if you run (execute) the application or not. Select “run (execute).” Now, you can see the two buttons activated for opening urban simulation models under "Click a button below to perform urban model simulations."

The id and the password for the closed model are "maxwell" and "orange", respectively.

You can change six parameter values (co, MPH, w, Rbar, Y, and VI or N) to perform simulation studies in the two urban models. The first five parameters are common in both models. In the open urban model, the last parameter is "the utility index (VI)," and, in the closed model, it is the total number of residents (N) living in the city.

Simulation results are sensitive to parameter values, so I set the limits of the parameter values to generate nice-looking graphs. The following table shows explanation of the abbreviated terms and the ranges of parameter values you can modify. The values in parentheses are default values for the base simulation that I set, and you cannot alter them.

Labels Explanation of Labels The Allowed Range of Values
Operating cost of commuting (per mile)
Commuting speed (mile per hour)
Value of commuting time (as a fraction of wage)
Agricultural rental rate (per sq. mi. per day)
The income per working day
The ratio of utility index to income (open model)
The number of people living in a city (closed model)
0.0 < co < 1.0 (0.15)
5 <= MPH <= 50 (25)
0.2 <= w <= 1.5 (0.5)
500 <= Rbar <= 5000 (2000)
140 <= Y <= 160 (150)
0.35 <= VI < 0.39 (0.37)
10,000 <= N <= 1,000,000


    Several helpful tips for smooth simulation !!!
  • Simulation results are sensitive to parameter values, so DO NOT choose a parameter value out of the above range for a new simulation. In the open urban model, especially, simulation results are very susceptible to Y and VI.
  • Once choosing a link to simulation programs, you see a windowpane titled, "Open Urban Model Simulation" or "Closed Urban Model Simulation." Under the program title, you will see brief directions for simulations. You can run seven kinds of simulations. Click the "Analysis" menu on the top of the window to select a simulation. Picking a simulation will lead you to another window where you can perform simulations.
  • Each simulation window does NOT have a "PRINTING" button. To print the graphs, click the "Print Screen" key of the keyboard with pressing the "Control key" down. Pressing the two keys together puts what's on the screen in the clipboard of your computer. By clicking "Copy icon" of Microsoft Word, you can paste the copied window on your word document.
  • Remember that you cannot change values in the second column labeled "Base." The values in the second column are not changeable, and they are for the case of the base model, and black line in a graph represents the base model. You can only change values in the first column labeled "New," characterized by a red line.
  • If you set parameter values out of the allowed range, the curve for a new simulation in the graph will become a horizontal line, or it will disappear, and you will find unreasonable values in the text box.


     Click a button below to perform urban model simulations!!!
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Opened on April 10, 2001 and lastly updated on October 15, 2021 by Youngsun Kwon
School of Business and Technology Management
College of Business