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Minority–Majority Relations in the Schelling Model of Residential Dynamics

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The Schelling model describing segregation between two groups of residential agents, reflects the most abstract, basic view of noneconomic forces motivating residential migrations: be close to people of “your own” kind. The model assumes that residential agents, located in neighborhoods where the fraction of “friends” is less than a predefined threshold value F, try to relocate to neighborhoods where this fraction is F or higher. For groups of equal size, Schelling's residential pattern converges either to complete integration (random pattern) or segregation, depending on F. We investigate Schelling model pattern dynamics as a function of F in addition to two other parameters—the ratio of groups' numbers, and neighborhood size. We demonstrate that the traditional integration–segregation pattern dichotomy should be extended. In the case of groups of different sizes, a wide interval of F‐values exists that entails a third persistent residential pattern, one in which a portion of the majority population segregates while the rest remains integrated with the minority. We also demonstrate that Schelling model dynamics essentially depend on the formalization of urban agents' residential behavior. To obtain realistic results, the agents should be satisficers, and the fraction of the agents relocating irrespective of the neighborhood's state should be nonzero. We discuss the relationship between our results and real‐world residential dynamics.
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Language: English

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Geography and Human Environment, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel 2: Institute for Management Research, Radboud University, Nijmegen, The Netherlands

Publication date: 2011-07-01

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