Study of Urban Developers’ Behavior in a Game Environment

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Abstract

Most urban models accept the assumptions of the Markov processes: the state and location of each urban object at time step t+1 are defined by its state, location and environmental conditions at t. This assumption is not at all evident, just because the city is developed by humans who have memory and might implement long-term development plans, and, thus demands confirmations. The Markov nature of developers’ behavior is investigated on the base of laboratory experiments, in which 30 participants were asked to construct a ‘city’ on the floor of a hall; each participant had to use the same set of mock-up buildings. Each mock-up established was represented as a feature of GIS layer, and its urban function, given by the participant, was recorded. The analysis of participants’ behavior reveals that the relation between the urban pattern on the step t of the experiment and the decision regarding the urban function and location of the mock-up at t+1 is very close to assumed by the Markov theory. Based on the experimental results, spatially explicit model of participants’ behavior was further constructed. The comparison between the experimental and the model patters, in their dynamics, clearly favor the idea of a shared Markov process as the basis for representing human urban development behavior. In the same time, with the increase in city complexity, the spectrum of participants’ behavior becomes wider that that of the model and some participants tends to deviate from it This experiment is a preliminary yet important step towards the experimental study of decision-making behavior among real developers and planners, which provide the basis for description of the real-world urban dynamics.