Urban Economics: Simulation Study
Mirror Site at the Center for Policy Research, Maxwell School

sq_p1.jpg (2753 bytes)This site provides a simulation study program for a monocentric city where students can alter parameter values and observe how characteristics of cities change in response. For example, students can see how rental rates for land change by altering commuting cost, income, and so on.

The site also provides simulation programs for an open urban model and a closed urban model based on the assumptions that households in a city have the same income and preference. We assume a monocentric city with a dense hub-and spoke commuting network. Originally, all programs of the site is based on professor John Yinger's Excel programs. You can easily find other major assumptions of urban models from Urban Economics textbooks.

Currently, the site provides simulation programs for an open and closed model. The simulation program for an open model is open to the public, but the closed one is not. To make use of other simulation programs for a class, please contact the programmer.

Users can change six parameter values to perform simulation studies with urban models. The first five parameters are common in both an open and closed model. In an open urban model, "utility index" is the last parameter, while in a closed model the number of residents in a city is set.

To save the space of windows of simulation program, abbreviated labels are used. Simulation results are sensitive to parameter values, so ranges of parameter values are set by the programmer to generate graphs. The following is explanation of the abbreviated terms and ranges of values students can modify. Values in parentheses are default values for the base simulation set by the programmer and cannot be altered by users.

Label Explanation of Label Allowed range of value
Operating cost of commuting (per mile)
Commuting speed (mile per hour)
Value of commuting time (as fraction of wage)
Agricultural rental rate (per sq.mi. per day)
Income per working day
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 useful tips for smooth simulation !!!
  • Simulation results are sensitive to parameter values, so DO NOT assign a parameter value out of the above range for new simulation. In open urban model, especially, simulation results are very sensitive to Y and VI.
  • Once accessing a simulation program, you will see windows titled either "Open Urban Model Simulation" or "Closed Urban Model Simulation." Under the title you will see brief directions for simulations. Basically, you can choose one of seven simulation methods. Click the "Analysis" menu on the top of the window to select a simulation method. Selecting a method will lead you to another window where you can actually perform simulations.
  • Each simulation window does NOT have a "PRINTING" button. In order to print the graphs, click the "Print Screen" key of the keyboard with holding the "Control key" down. Pressing the two keys together puts what's on the screen in 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 for the case of base model, and black line in a graph represents the base model. You can only change values in the first column labeled "New," which is represented 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.
  • The simulation programs of this page may run more slowly on Netscape than on Microsoft Internet Explorer. If simulation programs run slowly, try running them on Internet Explorer. You may also have to download JAVA Runtime Environment (JRE). If you cannot find two buttons below, click somewhere in the middle under the label, "Click a Button to perform urban model analysis !!!" then follow the directions popping up.


     Click a Button to perform urban model analysis!!!
Your web-browser does not supoort Java!!!
Your web-browser does not support Java!!!

  • You will be asked to type in userid and password for closed model simulation. You can get your userid and password from the programmer by sending an email to yokwon@kaist.ac.kr.
  • Acknowledgement: Seungmi Yang, an MLS at Syracuse University, provided tremendous programming help.

Updated on October 16, 2017 by Youngsun Kwon