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A systematic sensitivity analysis of constrained cellular automata model for urban growth simulation based on different transition rules

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Cellular automata (CA) have emerged as a primary tool for urban growth modeling due to its simplicity, transparency, and ease of implementation. Sensitivity analysis is an important component in CA modeling for a better understanding of errors or uncertainties and their propagation. Most studies on sensitivity analyses in urban CA modeling focus on specific component such as neighborhood configuration or stochastic perturbation. However, sensitivity analysis of transition rules, which is one of the core components in CA models, has not been systematically done. This article proposes a systematic sensitivity analysis of major operational components in urban CA modeling using a stepwise comparison approach. After obtaining transition rules, three stages (i.e. static calibration of transition rules, dynamic evolution with varied time steps, and incorporation with stochastic perturbation) are designed to facilitate a comprehensive analysis. This scheme implemented with a case study in Guangzhou City (China) reveals that gaps in performance from static calibration with different transition rules can be reduced when dynamic evolution is considered. Moreover, the degree of stochastic perturbation is closely related to obtain urban morphology. However, a more realistic (i.e. fragmented) urban landscape is achieved at the cost of decreasing pixel-based accuracy in this study. Thus, a trade-off between pixel-based and pattern-based comparisons should be balanced in practical urban modeling. Finally, experimental results illustrate that models for transition rules extraction with good quality can do an assistance for urban modeling through reducing errors and uncertainty range. Additionally, ensemble methods can feasibly improve the performance of CA models when coupled with nonparametric models (i.e. classification and regression tree).
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Keywords: CART; ensemble; logistic regression; stochastic perturbation; uncertainty analysis

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Ministry of Education Key Laboratory for Earth System Modeling, Center for Earth System Science, Tsinghua University, Beijing, 100084, China 2: School of Geography and Planning, and Guangdong Key Laboratory for Urbanization and Geo-simulation, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, 510275, Guangdong, China

Publication date: July 3, 2014

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