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Alex Hidde Hagen-Zanker, Jingyan Yu, Susan Jane Hughes, Naratip Santitissadeekorn (2023)A Turing Test of the Plausibility of Model-Generated Urban Expansion Scenarios, In: Findings Findings Press

Scenarios of future urban expansion are expected to be plausible: they must be diverse to reflect future uncertainty, yet realistic in their depiction of urban expansion processes. We investigated the plausibility of scenarios derived from a novel data-driven simulation approach. In a Turing-like test, experts completed a quiz in which they were asked to identify the map showing true urban expansion amidst three model-generated scenarios. Across diverse expansion patterns, ranging from compact to dispersed, the experts had no significant ability to identify the true pattern. The results support the hypothesis that the investigated scenarios are plausible and hence that cluster analysis of estimated dynamic models is a viable method for producing scenarios of future urban expansion.

Laurence Jones, Stefan Reis, Mike Hutchins, James Miller, B He, Isabel Seifert Dähnn, Chong-Yu Xu, Alex Hidde Hagen-Zanker, JINGYAN YU, T-C Lin, Haifeng Jia, Steven Loiselle, Duncan Russel, Clive E. Sabel, David Fletcher, A Fitch, Luis Inostroza (2022)Airsheds, watersheds and more – The flows that drive intra-extra-urban connections, and their implications for nature-based solutions (NBS), In: Nature-Based Solutions2 Elsevier Inc

•Cities interact with their surroundings from local to global scales in many domains.•Here we define watersheds, airsheds, biodiversitysheds, resourcesheds and peoplesheds.•Each shed can operate at multiple scales, which do not neatly overlap.•There are interactions among these environmental, economic and social sheds.•This understanding can help plan NBS to provide greater benefits and fewer trade-offs. Cities are highly complex, inter-connected social-ecological systems, encompassing social, built and natural/semi-natural components. They interact with their surrounding extra-urban areas at varying scales, from peri-urban and rural to global. Space is a valuable commodity in cities. However, in most instances, city planners tend to think about interventions only within cities and rarely about the wider connected domains outside. Yet, considering the wider spatial context, including space outside of the city boundaries, may open up opportunities to achieve substantially greater benefit for city residents without sacrificing valuable space, leading to more sustainable city design for people and the environment. In this paper we discuss the intra-extra-urban flows which connect cities to their wider airsheds, watersheds, biosheds and resourcesheds, which in turn interact with their peoplesheds. For each domain, we illustrate the processes and the scales they operate at, and discuss the implications for optimum location of nature-based solutions (NBS) to address urban challenges. We suggest that integrating knowledge about these multiple sheds can inform holistic design of NBS to deliver greater benefit for city residents. This takes into account the synergies and multi-functional co-benefits which arise from a careful consideration of place and people, while minimising potential disbenefits and trade-offs.

JINGYAN YU, Alex Hagen-Zanker, NARATIP SANTITISSADEEKORN, SUSAN JANE HUGHES (2022)A data-driven framework to manage uncertainty due to limited transferability in urban growth models, In: Computers, environment and urban systems98101892 Elsevier B.V

The processes of urban growth vary in space and time. There is a lack of model transferability, which means that models estimated for a particular study area and period are not necessarily applicable for other periods and areas. This problem is often addressed through scenario analysis, where scenarios reflect different plausible model realisations based typically on expert consultation. This study proposes a novel framework for data-driven scenario development which, consists of three components - (i) multi-area, multi-period calibration, (ii) growth mode clustering, and (iii) cross-application. The framework finds clusters of parameters, referred to as growth modes: within the clusters, parameters represent similar spatial development trajectories; between the clusters, parameters represent substantially different spatial development trajectories. The framework is tested with a stochastic dynamic urban growth model across European functional urban areas over multiple time periods, estimated using a Bayesian method on an open global urban settlement dataset covering the period 1975–2014. The results confirm a lack of transferability, with reduced confidence in the model over the validation period, compared to the calibration period. Over the calibration period the probability that parameters estimated specifically for an area outperforms those for other areas is 96%. However, over an independent validation period, this probability drops to 72%. Four growth modes are identified along a gradient from compact to dispersed spatial developments. For most training areas, spatial development in the later period is better characterized by one of the four modes than their own historical parameters. The results provide strong support for using identified parameter clusters as a tool for data-driven and quantitative scenario development, to reflect part of the uncertainty of future spatial development trajectories. A promising further application is to use the growth modes to characterize past spatial development patterns. A trend of increasingly dispersed patterns could be identified over the studied functional urban areas which calls for more detailed explorations.

JINGYAN YU, ALEX HIDDE HAGEN-ZANKER, NARATIP SANTITISSADEEKORN, SUSAN JANE HUGHES (2021)Calibration of Cellular Automata urban growth models from urban genesis onwards - A novel application of Markov Chain Monte Carlo Approximate Bayesian Computation, In: Computers, environment and urban systems90101689 Elsevier

Cellular Automata (CA) models are widely used to study spatial dynamics of urban growth and evolving patterns of land use. One complication across CA approaches is the relatively short period of data available for calibration, providing sparse information on patterns of change and presenting problematic signal-to-noise ratios. To overcome the problem of short-term calibration, this study investigates a novel approach in which the model is calibrated based on the urban morphological patterns that emerge from a simulation starting from urban genesis, i.e., a land cover map completely void of urban land. The application of the model uses the calibrated parameters to simulate urban growth forward in time from a known urban configuration. This approach to calibration is embedded in a new framework for the calibration and validation of a Constrained Cellular Automata (CCA) model of urban growth. The investigated model uses just four parameters to reflect processes of spatial agglomeration and preservation of scarce non-urban land at multiple spatial scales and makes no use of ancillary layers such as zoning, accessibility, and physical suitability. As there are no anchor points that guide urban growth to specific locations, the parameter estimation uses a goodness-of-fit (GOF) measure that compares the built density distribution inspired by the literature on fractal urban form. The model calibration is a novel application of Markov Chain Monte Carlo Approximate Bayesian Computation (MCMC-ABC). This method provides an empirical distribution of parameter values that reflects model uncertainty. The validation uses multiple samples from the estimated parameters to quantify the propagation of model uncertainty to the validation measures. The framework is applied to two UK towns (Oxford and Swindon). The results, including cross-application of parameters, show that the models effectively capture the different urban growth patterns of both towns. For Oxford, the CCA correctly produces the pattern of scattered growth in the periphery, and for Swindon, the pattern of compact, concentric growth. The ability to identify different modes of growth has both a theoretical and practical significance. Existing land use patterns can be an important indicator of future trajectories. Planners can be provided with insight in alternative future trajectories, available decision space, and the cumulative effect of parcel-by-parcel planning decisions.

Michael G. Hutchins, David Fletcher, ALEX HIDDE HAGEN-ZANKER, Haifeng Jia, Laurence Jones, Hong Lin, Steven Loiselle, James Miller, Stefan Reis, Isabel Seifert Dähnn, Vanessa Wilde, Chong-Yu Xu, Dawen Yang, JINGYAN YU, Shen Yu (2021)Why scale is vital to plan optimal Nature-Based Solutions for resilient cities, In: Environmental Research Letters16(4)044008 IOP Publishing Ltd

A need for multi-functional assessment tools evaluating trade-offs and co-benefits for various types of Nature-Based Solution (NBS) has been increasingly identified in recent years. Methodologically, concepts for a tool are presented which include quantifying the demand and potential for NBS to enhance ecosystem service (ES) provision, and linking ecosystem services to readily quantifiable and legislatively-relevant environmental quality indicators (EQIs). The objective of tool application is to identify optimal NBS placement across a diverse set of socio-environmental indicators, whilst also incorporating issues of relative location of areas of implementation and benefit accrual. Embedded within the tool is the importance of evaluating outcomes in terms of economic benefits and of sustainable development goals. The concepts are illustrated with simplified examples, relating to the case of implementing urban forestry as an exemplar NBS. By summarising the knowledge base it is demonstrated that benefits of NBS are substantially scale-dependent in two main respects; those of extent and proximity to receptors. Evaluation tools should be capable of quantifying scale-dependence. The substantive importance of these considerations and how their dynamics vary between indicators and services is illustrated graphically through schematic functions. When developed, the tool should be used as a focus for consultation and co-design to pinpoint the size of NBS necessary to achieve a sufficient level of benefit for a particular receptor. This could be measured against target levels of benefit for each indicator, distinguishing between primary intended outcomes and those co-benefits or trade-offs that are secondary or unintended.