On the Process and Economics of Land Settlement in Oman: Mathematical Modeling and Reasoning in Urban Planning and Design
The Sultanate of Oman organizes a peculiar land allocation system by lottery. Combined with governmental loans this system is intended to provide house ownership for male and female nationals. Active land-management measures such as incentives or taxation do not exist. The process can be described as an ideal market. As observed in empirical studies the resulting settlement remains incomplete and inefficient, which leads to an overall unsustainable land-use. The paper develops an agent-based land-settlement simulation based on cellular automata. The simulation describes the agents and their motivation. It is calibrated with a real-estate price index compiled for Muscat Capital Area for the first time. The simulation allows discussion of four scenarios: Status quo, negative, positive and combined land-management measures. The status quo scenario reveals that the original intention of the land allocation program as part of the welfare system in Oman is not attained. On the contrary, the present system without additional management fuels private land speculation that rapidly excludes those in need and benefits a few. The alternative scenarios of negative, positive and combined land-management measures support policies for a fair and sustainable settlement process.
KeywordsCollective decision-making Simulations in economics Settlement dynamics Housing in Oman
JEL ClassificationC630 R310 R380 R520 R580
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.
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