GVC/City REDI Seminar Series: Zhaoya Gong

Room 103 University House
Wednesday 18 January 2017 (12:00-13:00)

This event is part of the GVC/City REDI Seminar Series.

Title: A Multiscalar Model for Polycentric Urban-Regional Systems

Speaker: Zhaoya Gong (University of Birmingham, Geography)


This research extends a theoretical new economic geography (NEG) model with real geography through agent-based modeling. The theoretical model is built upon a multiscalar framework that endogenizes polycentric agglomerations at both inter-urban and intra-urban scales by accounting for the interplay of market interactions and spatial frictions. However, this theoretical approach inherently relies on an abstract conceptualization of the geographic space, i.e., linear or circular space. Here, we extend the theoretical model with a two-dimensional zonal geography connected by a transport network. This more realistic depiction of space takes into account the fact that accessibility to locations where households and firms reside varies across a network of places. Once agents choose their zones, an agent-based location choice model is coupled to determine the specific uses (e.g., residential, commercial, and industrial) of land parcels where households or firms reside in that zone. Thus, the resulting geographical model should be able to better reflect the spatial pattern of urban development since it incorporates the first nature, a realistic heterogeneous space. This is of great importance to empirically validate the theoretical modeling framework by calibrating the geographical model against real world data. It thus enables practical policy testing and scenario-based predictions, e.g., if an economic shock strikes a major sector of a large city, how will its internal spatial structure change, what are the impacts on the spatial organization and industry composition of other cities in the entire urban-regions relative to this one, and will the internal spatial and economic structure of other cities will also be affected? This is achieved by considering multiple industries that differ in their degree of product differentiation, trade and transaction costs, and scale economies and by taking into account the variation of industry composition and input-output linkages between industries across different spatial agglomerations. For demonstration purposes, a real world application to the Carolinas region is presented as a test bed for the geographical model. This effort intends to contribute to the existing corpus of urban land-use models by incorporating the economic agglomeration effect of NEG style into land-use modeling.

About the speaker

Dr Zhaoya Gong is a quantitative human geographer and Geographic Information Scientist. His research interests center on two interwoven themes, namely leveraging computational and data sciences to advance geographic information science, and dynamic processes of urbanisation and complex modalities of spatial structures generated at various scales, as articulated by interactions of land use and transportation/mobility systems, with respect to the social, economic, and environmental sustainability of resulting urban settlements.