UrbanSim is a simulation environment to experiment with microsimulations if urban development and location choice. It is a tremendous tool to learn and plan about the environment we live in:

It is a valuable tool for improving the level of understanding of how a metropolitan region is developing and how various combinations of land use and transportation policies and investments are likely to shape these trends. Some of the issues of interest, such as affordable housing, are within the scope of the model to be of use, since it deals with predicting housing prices, and disaggregates households by income as well as other characteristics, and can capture the affordability impacts of alternative scenarios. Preservation of land in green space would be feasible to incorporate within the model by earmarking specified parcels for green space preservation, which would influence the supply of land, and could be tested as an attractor for residential or business location. Urban design issues could similarly be explored, given the parcel-level capacity of the developer module, and the ability to incorporate a flexible set of terms in the location choice equations for businesses and households. The specific abilities to test these and other policy issues of interest depend on myriad factors being considered as this planning tool evolves.

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