Computational Model Library

Large-scale land acquisitions (LSLAs) threaten smallholder livelihoods globally. Despite more than a decade of research on the LSLA phenomenon, it remains a challenge to identify governance conditions that may foster beneficial outcomes for both smallholders and investors. One potentially promising strategy toward this end is contract farming (CF), which more directly involves smallholder households in commodity production than conditions of acquisition and displacement.

To improve understanding of how CF may mediate the outcomes of LSLAs, we developed an agent-based model of smallholder livelihoods, which we used as a virtual laboratory to experiment on a range of hypothetical LSLA and CF implementation scenarios.

The model represents a community of smallholder households in a mixed crop-livestock system. Each agent farms their own land and manages a herd of livestock. Agents can also engage in off-farm employment, for which they earn a fixed wage and compete for a limited number of jobs. The principal model outputs include measures of household food security (representing access to a single, staple food crop) and agricultural production (of a single, staple food crop).

Resilience of humans in the Upper Paleolithic could provide insights in how to defend against today’s environmental threats. Approximately 13,000 years ago, the Laacher See volcano located in present-day western Germany erupted cataclysmically. Archaeological evidence suggests that this is eruption – potentially against the background of a prolonged cold spell – led to considerable culture change, especially at some distance from the eruption (Riede, 2017). Spatially differentiated and ecologically mediated effects on contemporary social networks as well as social transmission effects mediated by demographic changes in the eruption’s wake have been proposed as factors that together may have led to, in particular, the loss of complex technologies such as the bow-and-arrow (Riede, 2014; Riede, 2009).

This model looks at the impact of the interaction between climate change trajectory and an extreme event, such as the Laacher See eruption, on the generational development of hunter-gatherer bands. Historic data is used to model the distribution and population dynamics of hunter-gatherer bands during these circumstances.

This is a variant of the PaleoscapeABM model available here written by Wren and Janssen. In this variant, we give projectile weapons to hunter and document where they discard them over time. Discard rate and location are influenced by probabilities of hitting/missing the prey, probabilities of damaging the weapon, and probabilities of carrying back embedded projectile armatures to the habitation camp with the body carcass.

The integrated and spatially-explicit ABM, called DIReC (Demography, Industry and Residential Choice), has been developed for Aberdeen City and the surrounding Aberdeenshire (Ge, Polhill, Craig, & Liu, 2018). The model includes demographic (individual and household) models, housing infrastructure and occupancy, neighbourhood quality and evolution, employment and labour market, business relocation, industrial structure, income distribution and macroeconomic indicators. DIReC includes a detailed spatial housing model, basing preference models on house attributes and multi-dimensional neighbourhood qualities (education, crime, employment etc.).
The dynamic ABM simulates the interactions between individuals, households, the labour market, businesses and services, neighbourhoods and economic structures. It is empirically grounded using multiple data sources, such as income and gender-age distribution across industries, neighbourhood attributes, business locations, and housing transactions. It has been used to study the impact of economic shocks and structural changes, such as the crash of oil price in 2014 (the Aberdeen economy heavily relies on the gas and oil sector) and the city’s transition from resource-based to a green economy (Ge, Polhill, Craig, & Liu, 2018).

Policymakers decide on alternative policies facing restricted budgets and uncertain, ever-changing future. Designing housing policies is further difficult giving the heterogeneous characteristics of properties themselves and the intricacy of housing markets and the spatial context of cities. We propose PolicySpace2 (PS2) as an adapted and extended version of the open source PolicySpace agent-based model. PS2 is a computer simulation that relies on empirically detailed spatial data to model real estate, along with labor, credit and goods and services markets. Interaction among workers, firms, a bank, households and municipalities follow the literature benchmarks to integrate economic, spatial and transport literature. PS2 is applied to a comparison among three competing municipal housing policies aimed at alleviating poverty: (a) property acquisition and distribution, (b) rental vouchers and (c) monetary aid. Within the model context, the monetary aid, that is, a smaller amounts of help for a larger number of households, makes the economy perform better in terms of production, consumption, reduction of inequality and maintenance of financial duties. PS2 as such is also a framework that may be further adapted to a number of related research questions.

Bicycle model

Dana Kaziyeva Gudrun Wallentin Martin Loidl | Published Thu Jan 10 21:30:34 2019 | Last modified Mon Feb 22 14:32:32 2021

The purpose of the model is to generate the spatio-temporal distribution of bicycle traffic flows at a regional scale level. Disaggregated results are computed for each network segment with the minute time step. The human decision-making is governed by probabilistic rules derived from the mobility survey.

Studies of colonization processes in past human societies often use a standard population model in which population is represented as a single quantity. Real populations in these processes, however, are structured with internal classes or stages, and classes are sometimes created based on social differentiation. In this present work, information about the colonization of old Providence Island was used to create an agent-based model of the colonization process in a heterogeneous environment for a population with social differentiation. Agents were socially divided into two classes and modeled with dissimilar spatial clustering preferences. The model and simulations assessed the importance of gregarious behavior for colonization processes conducted in heterogeneous environments by socially-differentiated populations. Results suggest that in these conditions, the colonization process starts with an agent cluster in the largest and most suitable area. The spatial distribution of agents maintained a tendency toward randomness as simulation time increased, even when gregariousness values increased. The most conspicuous effects in agent clustering were produced by the initial conditions and behavioral adaptations that increased the agent capacity to access more resources and the likelihood of gregariousness. The approach presented here could be used to analyze past human colonization events or support long-term conceptual design of future human colonization processes with small social formations into unfamiliar and uninhabited environments.


Fulco Scherjon | Published Fri Nov 25 12:00:02 2016 | Last modified Tue Oct 6 11:01:00 2020

A modelling system to simulate Neanderthal demography and distribution in a reconstructed Western Europe for the late Middle Paleolithic.

This repository contains: (1) a model calibration procedure that identifies a set of diverse, plausible models; and (2) an ABM of smallholder agriculture, which is used as a case study application for the calibration method. By identifying a set of diverse models, the calibration method attends to the issue of “equifinality” prevalent in complex systems, which is a situation where multiple plausible process descriptions exist for a single outcome.

Peer reviewed Vigilant sharing in a small-scale society

MARCOS PINHEIRO | Published Wed Jul 22 01:40:09 2020 | Last modified Wed Jul 29 02:03:28 2020

The model explores food distribution patterns that emerge in a small-scale non-agricultural group when sharing individuals engage in intentional consumption leveling with a given probability.

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