Cellular Automata in Modeling and Predicting Urban Densification: Revisiting the Literature since 1971

Anasua Chakraborty , Sujit Sikder, Hichem Omrani, Jacques Teller

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The creation of an accurate simulation of future urban growth is considered to be one of the most important challenges of the last five decades that involves spatial modeling within a GIS environment. Even though built-up densification processes, or transitions from low to high density, are critical for policymakers concerned with limiting sprawl, the literature on models for urban study reveals that most of them focus solely on the expansion process. Although the majority of these models have similar goals, they differ in terms of implementation and theoretical assumptions.
Cellular automata (CA) models have been proven to be successful at simulating urban growth dynamics and projecting future scenarios at multiple scales. This paper aims to revisit urban CA models to determine the various approaches for a realistic simulation and prediction of urban densification. The general characteristics of CA models are described with respect to analysis of
various driving factors that influence urban scenarios. This paper also critically analyzes various hybrid models based on CA such as the Markov chain, artificial neural network (ANN), and logistic regression (LR). Limitation and uncertainties of CA models, namely, neighborhood cell size, may be minimized when integrated with empirical and statistical models. The result of this review suggests that it is useful to use CA models with multinomial logistic regression (MLR) in order to analyze and model the effects of various driving factors related to urban densification. Realistic simulations can be achieved when multidensity class labels are integrated in the modeling process.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1113
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jul 2022


  • cellular automata
  • urban densification
  • urban models
  • urban simulation
  • land use prediction

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