Generative Models of Segregation: Investigating Model-Generated Patterns of Residential Segregation by Ethnicity and Socioeconomic Status

Fossett, M.

Journal of mathematical sociology 35(1-3): 114-145


ISSN/ISBN: 0022-250X
PMID: 21379372
DOI: 10.1080/0022250x.2010.532367
Accession: 053375575

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This paper considers the potential for using agent models to explore theories of residential segregation in urban areas. Results of generative experiments conducted using an agent-based simulation of segregation dynamics document that varying a small number of model parameters representing constructs from urban-ecological theories of segregation can generate a wide range of qualitatively distinct and substantively interesting segregation patterns. The results suggest how complex, macro-level patterns of residential segregation can arise from a small set of simple micro-level social dynamics operating within particular urban-demographic contexts. The promise and current limitations of agent simulation studies are noted and optimism is expressed regarding the potential for such studies to engage and contribute to the broader research literature on residential segregation.