Job Postings

Graduate Research Assistantship in Agent-based Land Market Modeling

Graduate Research Assistantship in Agent-based Land Market Modeling
available with Dr. Dawn Parker at the University of Waterloo,
Ontario, Canada

A graduate assistantship (minimum of three years of funding) is
available for a highly qualified student interesting in developing
agent-based models of ex-urban residential land markets. The
research assistant will be part of SLUCE II project (Spatial Land Use
Change and Ecological Effects), funded through the US National
Science Foundation’s Coupled Natural and Human Systems program. This
is a collaborative, multi-institution, interdisciplinary research
project involving six faculty members in the area of coupled human-
natural systems. The project links agent-based modeling of human
behaviors driving land use / land cover change (LULCC), preferences
for vegetation cover and vegetation management, land market modeling,
field work, remote sensing, and ecosystem modeling of landscape
carbon balance in low-density human-dominated landscapes (suburban
and exurban residential landscapes). The project uses 13 townships
in southeastern Michigan as a model system and seeks to explore
thresholds in land use / land cover change and landscape carbon
balance that could potentially be altered with policy levers.

The ideal applicant will have or be able to develop skills in agent-
based computational modeling, spatial econometrics, the economics of
land markets, and geographic information science. The student will
work under the supervision of Dr. Dawn Parker, with the expectation
that the student will complete a thesis based on participation in the
research. PhD level applicants are preferred, but highly qualified
applications at the master’s level will also be considered.
Interested students should first contact Dr. Parker via e-mail with a
short description of background and interest in the position, a CV,
and an electronic copy of an unofficial transcript from the last
relevant academic degree. The applicant would also need to apply and
be admitted to a relevant graduate program either in the School of
Planning or the Department of Geography and Environmental Management
at the University of Waterloo. Full applications must be received by
Jan. 31, 2009. Contact information for both programs is provided
below. Additional information on Dr. Parker’s current research, an
electronic link to this ad, and links to related publications, are
available on Dr. Parker’s home page (

Additional information about the new project and other members of the
project team is available at
projects/sluce/. The student will interact closely with
collaborators from the University of Michigan, including interactions
with two new PhD student positions there, one working with Prof. Dan
Brown and the other with Assoc. Prof. Bill Currie. These students
will work in the broad areas of geographic information science, land
use / land cover change, coupled human-natural systems, modeling, and
landscape carbon balance. The student working closely with Dr. Brown
will focus more directly on understanding and modeling patterns and
drivers of LULCC, especially with agent-based modeling, while the
student working closely with Dr. Currie will focus more directly on
measuring and modeling vegetation management and landscape carbon

Related publications and presentations:

Filatova, T., D. Parker, and A. van der Veen. In Press. Agent-Based
Urban Land Markets: Agent’s Pricing Behavior, Land Prices and Urban
Land Use Change. Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation.

Parker, D., and T. Filatova. 2008. A theoretical design for a
bilateral agent-based land market with heterogeneous economic agents.
Computers, Environment, and Urban Systems 32 (6): 454–463. http://

Filatova, T., A. van der Veen, and D. Parker. 2008. Introducing
Preference Heterogeneity into a Monocentric Urban Model: an Agent-
Based Land Market Model. Pre-proceedings of the Second World Congress
on Social Simulation, July 14-18, Fairfax, VA.

Polhill, J. G., D. C. Parker, and N. Gotts. 2008. “Effects of land
markets on competition between innovators and imitators in land use:
results from FEARLUS-ELMM” Pages 81-97 in C. Hernandez, K. Troitzsch
and B. Edmonds, eds, Social Simulation Technologies: Advances and New
Discoveries, Information Science Reference, Hershey, PA.

Parker, D. 2008. Linking land-use change, land manager behaviour, and
ecological change through agent-based land market models. Pages
15-16. Newsletter of the Global Land Project International Project

Parker, D. C. (2008) “Can Agent-Based Models of Land Use Bridge the
Gap between Process and Pattern Based Models?” Presented at the
Global Land Project workshop, “The design of integrative models of
natural and social systems in land-use change”, Macaulay Institute,
Aberdeen, Scotland on March 1, 2008 (


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