From schelling to spatially explicit modeling of urban ethnic and economic residential dynamics

Itzhak Benenson, Erez Hatna, Ehud Or

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The robustness of outcomes to the parameterization of behavioral rules is a crucial property of any model aimed at simulating complex human systems. Schelling model of residential segregation satisfies this criterion. Based on the recently available high-resolution census GIS, we apply Schelling model for investigating urban population patterns at the resolution of individual buildings and families. First, we simulate ethnic residential dynamics in Yaffo (an area of Tel Aviv), and demonstrate good quantitative correspondence for a 40-year period. Second, we investigate income-based residential patterns in nine Israeli cities, reveal their high heterogeneity, and explain the latter by the presence of low fraction of wealthier householders who are tolerant of their poorer neighbors and reside in their proximity. We extend Schelling model in this direction and demonstrate qualitative correspondence between the model's outcomes and the observed income-based residential patterns.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)463-497
Number of pages35
JournalSociological Methods and Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 2009


  • High-resolution GIS
  • Schelling model
  • Social simulation
  • Urban residential dynamics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science


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