Lunch Seminar - Modeling Land Use in Coastal Areas: Amenities, Risks, and Resilience
Modeling Land Use in Coastal Areas: Amenities, Risks, and Resilience
Dr. Margaret Walls, Research Director & Senior Fellow, Resources for the Future
ABSTRACT: Climate scientists predict extreme weather events to worsen in the future and coastal communities will be hit especially hard. Over 600 million people live in coastal areas around the world; in the United States, 39 percent of the population lives in counties directly on the shoreline. Furthermore, these areas are seeing the largest rates of population growth. These facts mean that planning and preparing for the risks from climate change in coastal urban areas is imperative. In order to plan and prepare, it is important to understand the factors that motivate people to live in coastal areas and appreciate how perceptions of risks affect their choices. We construct an economic agent-based model (ABM) of housing and land markets in a coastal setting in the mid-Atlantic region of the United States. The model incorporates the behavior of three agents—owners of undeveloped land, developers, and housing consumers. The population grows over time; agent interactions in the marketplace generate spatial patterns of development over the landscape over time. In this preliminary version of the model, consumers choose where to live, balancing the amenities of living near the coast with risks of incurring property damage due to storms and hurricanes. They are assumed to fully understand those risks and incorporate them in their decision-making. (Future plans for the model include a version in which subjective risk perceptions differ from actual risks.) Model simulations show how development occurs across the landscape and over time and how land and housing prices vary spatially and through time. In our baseline model runs, storm risks are consistent with the historical record for the mid-Atlantic region but in alternative scenarios we examine how results change if the mid-Atlantic looks more like Texas and Florida where hurricanes are more frequent and more severe. The land use/housing ABM is part of a larger, four-year National Science Foundation-funded project entitled “In Hot Water and Harm’s Way: Modeling to Improve Regional Resilience to Repeated Hurricanes and Heat Waves.” The project includes an interdisciplinary team of researchers from Johns Hopkins University, Georgetown University, George Mason University, and the Maryland Institute College of Art.
SHORT BIO: Margaret Walls is Research Director and Senior Fellow at Resources for the Future, an independent nonprofit research organization in Washington, DC. Dr. Walls has conducted research and policy analysis on a range of environmental and natural resource issues, focusing most recently on land use, climate and energy issues, and conservation and outdoor recreation. Her work has appeared in a number of peer-reviewed journals including Land Economics, Journal of Public Economics, Journal of Urban Economics, and Environmental Science and Technology, among others. She is also the author of 18 book chapters. She is currently working with researchers from Johns Hopkins and Georgetown Universities on a 4-year National Science Foundation grant to analyze community resilience to repeated heat waves and hurricanes. Dr. Walls was previously on the faculty of the School of Economics and Finance of Victoria University in Wellington, New Zealand. She has a PhD in economics from the University of California – Santa Barbara.
Lunch Seminars at Centre for Societal Resilience are internal events for dialogue among researchers concering central aspects of societal safety, security and sustainability over lunch. The centre provides a basic packed lunch to allow time for researchers to participate. Hence the name. Although the idea of the seminar is to facilitate transdisciplinary dialogue between researchers from various departments within Lund University, the venue for the seminar is limited and requires a simple registration. Registrations are made by clicking the registration button on the invitation email or event page.
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