SLUCE Synthesis Workshop

With project SLUCE2 funding reaching an end, many of those who have took part in SLUCE related research reunited in Ann Arbor today for a two day workshop (May 19-20, 2014) to synthesize our various research efforts, explicitly identify our contributions to science, and identify gaps that require attention and future research. While only about half of those who have worked on the project were able to make it , it was an exciting day packed with knowledge transfer and critical thinking.

2014 SLUCE WorkshopBack Row: Shipeng Sun, Derek Robinson, Daniel Brown, Bill Rand, Luis Fernandez
Middle Row: Bill Currie, Liz Westbrook, Moira Zellner, Dawn Parker, Joan Nassauer, Nick Magliocca
Front Row: Lauren Marshall, Rachel Visscher, Sarah Kiger, Meghan Hutchins
Missing: Rick Riolo, Scott Page, Li An, TingTing Zhao, Rob Wyman, Erik Dayrell, Zhifang Wang, and others

Starting with a small seed grant back in 1999, faculty and students from the University of Michigan and other institutions have carried out a 15 year research program on coupled human-natural systems in exurban landscapes. Initially the focus was on studying Spatial Land Use Change and Ecological Effects at the Rural-Urban Interface: Agent-Based Modeling and Evaluation of Alternative Policies and Interventions. Known as project SLUCE, Dr. Daniel Brown lead a team to obtain funding for SLUCE from the National Science Foundation (NSF) Biocomplexity in the Environment Program (BCS-0119804). A second successful proposal to NSF took a more explicit look at the Interactions of Exurban Land Management and Carbon Dynamics (SLUCE2) and kept the funding going for an additional 5 years.

Having taken part in this research agenda since 2003, I’ve been able to be in contact with a variety of different aspects of the research and collaborate with many of the team. The research team has been highly interdisciplinary, involving individuals from computer science, economics, geography, landscape architecture, planning, and political science among other disciplines. Data collection has involved social surveys, ecological fieldwork, and remote sensing and spatial analysis. The outcomes of this work have involved stand alone empirical papers and theoretical papers, but much of these and other products have been framed or discussed within the context of developing models of exurban expansion, land markets, land management, and assessing the effects of these and other land use and ecological processes on carbon storage and flux.

Below is a list of the majority of the papers that have come from the efforts of the PIs (Dr. Daniel Brown, Dr. Bill Currie, Dr. Joan NassauerDr. Scott Page, Dr. Dawn Parker, Dr. Rick Riolo) and others.

Stay tuned for new research and papers from the SLUCE group in 2014 and 2015!


Journal Papers and Book Chapters

  1. Currie, W.S., Kiger, S., Nassauer, J.I., Hutchins, M., Marshall, L.L., Brown, D.G., Riolo, R.L., and Robinson, D.T. In Review. Human-dominated residential land in Southeastern Michigan stores carbon similar to secondary forests. Submitted to Ecological Applications.
  2. Magliocca, N.R., Brown, D.G., McConnell, V., Nassauer, J.I., and Westbrook, S.E. In Press. Effects of alternative developer decision-making models on the production of ecological subdivision designs: Experimental results from an agent-based model. Environmental and Planning B.
  3. Kahan, A.Y., Currie, W.S., and Brown, D.G. 2014. Nitrogen and carbon biogeochemistry in forest sites along an indirect urban-rural gradient in Southeastern Michigan. Forests. 5(4):643-665
  4. Sun, S., Parker, D.C., Huang, Q., Filatova, T., Robinson, D.T., Riolo, R.L., Hutchins, M., Brown, D.G. 2014. Market impacts on land-use change: An agent-based experiment. Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 104(3): 460-484.
  5. Wang, N., Brown, D.G., An, L., Yang, S., and Ligmann-Zielinska, A. 2013. Comparative performance of logistic regression and survival analysis for detecting spatial predictors of land-use change. International Journal of Geographical Information Science, 27(10): 1960-1982. doi:10.1080/13658816.2013.779377
  6. Huang, Q., Parker, D.C., Sun, S., Filatova, T. 2013. Effects of agent heterogeneity in the presence of a land market: A systematic test in an agent-based laboratory. Computers Environment and Urban Systems, 41: 188-203.
  7. Robinson, D.T., Sun, S., Hutchins, M., Riolo, R.L., Brown, D.G., Parker, D.C., Filatova, T., Currie, W.S., and Kiger, S. 2013. Effects of land markets and land management on ecosystem function: A framework for modelling exurban land change. Environmental Modelling and Software, 45:129-140. doi:10.1016/j.envsoft.2012.06.016
  8. Parker, D. C., D.G. Brown, T. Filatova, R. Riolo, D. T. Robinson, and S. Sun. 2012. Do land markets matter? A modeling ontology and experimental  design to test the effects of land markets for an agent-based model of ex-urban residential land-use change. In Agent-based Models of Geographical Systems, A. Heppinstall, A. Crooks, M. Batty and L. See, eds, pp 525-542. Springer.
  9. Robinson, D.T.2012. Land-cover fragmentation and configuration of ownership parcels in an exurban landscape. Urban Ecosystems 15: 53 – 69.
  10. Wang, Z., Nassauer, J.I., Marans, R., and Brown, D.G. 2012. Different types of open spaces and their importance to exurban homeowners. Society and Natural Resources, 25(4): 368-383. doi:10.1080/08941920.2011.571231
  11. Cheong, S., Brown, D.G., Lopez-Carr, D., and Kok, K. 2012. Mixed methods in land-change research: Towards integration. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 37(1):8-12.doi: 10.1111/j.1475-5661.2011.00482.x
  12. Zhao, T., Brown, D.G., Fang, H., Theobald, D.M., Liu, T., Zhang, T. 2012. Vegetation productivity consequences of human settlement growth in the Eastern United States. Landscape Ecology, 27(8): 1149-1165.doi:10.1007/s10980-012-9766-8
  13. Smajgl, A., Brown, D.G., Valbuena, D., and Huigen, M.G.A. 2011. Empirical characterisation of agent behaviours in socio-ecological systems. Environmental Modelling and Software, 26(7):837-844. doi:10.1016/j.envsoft.2011.02.011
  14. An, L., Brown, D.G., Nassauer, J.I., and Low, B. 2011. Variations in development of exurban residential landscapes: Timing, location, and driving forces. Journal of Land Use Science, 6(1): 13-32. doi: 10.1080/1747423X.2010.500686
  15. Zellner, M.L., Riolo, R.L., Rand, W., Brown, D.G., Page, S.E., and Fernandez, L.E. 2010. The problem with zoning: Nonlinear effects of interactions between location preferences and externalities on land use and utility. Environment and Planning B, 37: 408-428. doi:10.1068/b35053
  16. Churkina, G., Brown, D.G., and Keoleian, G. 2010. Carbon stored in human settlements: Conterminous US. Global Change Biology, 16: 135-143 doi:10.1111/j.1365-2486.2009.02002.x
  17. Filatova, T., van der Veen, A. and Parker, D.C. 2009. Land market interactions  between heterogeneous agents and a heterogeneous landscape–tracing  the macro-scale effects of individual trade-offs between environmental amenities and disamenities. Canadian Journal of Agricultural Economics. 57(4) 431-457.
  18. Nassauer, J.I., Wang, Z., Dayrell, E. 2009. What will the neighbors think? Cultural norms and ecological design. Landscape and Urban Planning, 92: 282-292.
  19. Robinson, D.T., Brown, D.G., Currie, W. 2009. Modelling carbon storage in highly fragmented and human-dominated landscapes: Linking land-cover patterns and ecosystem models. Ecological Modelling, 220(9-10):1325-1338. doi:10.1016/j.ecolmodel.2009.02.020
  20. Robinson, D.T., and Brown, D.G. 2009. Evaluating the effects of land-use development policies on ex-urban forest cover: An integrated agent-based GIS approach. International Journal of Geographical Information Science, 23(9): 1211-1232. doi:10.1080/13658810802344101
  21. Zellner, M.L., Page, S.E., Rand, W., Brown, D.G., Robinson, D.T., Nassauer, J., and Low, B. 2009. The emergence of zoning policy games in exurban jurisdictions: Informing collective action theory. Land Use Policy, 26(2): 256-367. doi:10.1016/j.landusepol.2008.04.004
  22. Rindfuss, R., Entwistle, B., Walsh, S.J., An, L., Brown, D.G., Deadman, P., Evans, T.P., Fox, J., Geoghegan, J., Gutmann, M., Kelly, M., Linderman, M., Liu, J., Malanson, G.P., Mena, C.F., Messina, J.P., Moran, E.F., Parker, D.C., Parton, W., Prasartkul, P., Robinson, D.T., Sawangdee, Y., Vanwey, L.K., Verburg, P.H. 2008. Land use change: Complexity and comparisons. Journal of Land Use Science, 3(1): 1-10. doi:10.1080/17474230802047955
  23. Parker, D.C. and Filatova, T. 2008. A  theoretical  design for a bilateral agent-based land market with heterogeneous economic agents. Computers, Environment, and Urban Systems 32(6) 454-463.
  24. Parker, D.C. Brown, D.G, Polhill, J.G., Deadman, P.J. , and Manson, S.M. 2008. Illustrating a new “conceptual design pattern” for agent-based models of land use via five case studies – the MR POTATOHEAD framework. In A.L. Paredes and C.H. Iglesias, eds. Agent-Based Modelling in Natural Resource Management. Valladolid, Spain: Universidad de Valladolid, pp. 23-51.
  25. Polhill, J.G., Parker, D.C., Brown, D.G., and Grimm, V. 2008. Using the ODD protocol for describing three agent-based social simulation models of land use change. Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, 11(2):3. <>
  26. An, L., and Brown, D.G. 2008. Survival analysis in land-change science: Integrating with GIScience to address temporal complexities. Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 98(2): 323-344. doi:10.1080/00045600701879045
  27. Brown, D.G., Robinson, D.T., An, L., Nassauer, J.I., Zellner, M., Rand, W., Riolo, R., Page, S.E., and Low, B. 2008. Exurbia from the bottom-up: Confronting empirical challenges to characterizing complex systems. GeoForum, 39(2):805-818. doi:10.1016/j.geoforum.2007.02.010
  28. Zhao, T., Brown, D.G., and Bergen, K.M. 2007. Increasing gross primary production (GPP) in the urbanizing landscape of Southeastern Michigan. Photogrammetric Engineering and Remote Sensing, 73(10): 1159-1168.
  29. Taylor, J.J., Brown, D.G., Larsen, L.S. 2007. Preserving natural features: A GIS-based evaluation of a local open-space ordinance. Landscape and Urban Planning, 82(1-2): 1-16. doi:10.1016/j.landurbplan.2007.01.013
  30. Burnicki, A., Brown, D.G., and Goovaerts, P. 2007. Error propagation in land-cover change analysis: The implications of temporal dependence. Computers, Environment and Urban Systems, 31(3):282-302. doi:10.1016/j.compenvurbsys.2006.07.005
  31. Robinson, D.T., Brown, D.G., Parker, D.C., Schreinemachers, P., Janssen, M.A., Huigen, M., Wittmer, H., Gotts, N., Promburom, P. Irwin, E., Berger, T., Gatzweiler, F., and Barnaud, C. 2007. Comparison of empirical methods for building agent-based models of land and resource use. Journal of Land Use Science, 2(1): 31-55. doi:10.1080/17474230701201349
  32. Brown, D.G., Aspinall, R. and Bennett, D.A. 2006. Landscape models and explanation in landscape ecology: A space for generative landscape science? Professional Geographer, 58, 369-382. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9272.2006.00575.x
  33. Brown, D.G., Robinson, D.T. 2006. Effects of heterogeneity in preferences on an agent-based model of urban sprawl. Ecology and Society, 11(1): 46. [online] URL:
  34. Brown, D.G., Johnson, K.M., Loveland, T.R., and Theobald, D.M. 2005. Rural land use change in the conterminous U.S., 1950-2000. Ecological Applications, 15(6): 1851–1863. doi: 10.1890/03-5220
  35. Fernandez, L., Brown, D.G., Marans, R, and Nassauer, J. 2005. Characterizing location preferences in an exurban population: Implications for agent based modeling. Environment and Planning B, 32(6): 799-820. doi:10.1068/b3071
  36. Brown, D.G., Riolo, R., Robinson, D.T., North, M., and Rand, W. 2005. Spatial process and data models: Toward integration of agent-based models and GIS. Journal of Geographical Systems, 7(1): 25-47.
  37. Brown, D.G., Page, S.E., Riolo, R.L., Zellner, M., and Rand, W. 2005. Path dependence and the validation of agent-based spatial models of land-use. International Journal of Geographical Information Science, 19(2): 153-174. doi: 10.1080/13658810410001713399
  38. Brown, D.G., Page, S.E., Riolo, R.L., and Rand, W. 2004. Agent based and analytical modeling to evaluate the effectiveness of greenbelts. Environmental Modelling and Software, 19(12): 1097-1109. doi:10.1016/j.envsoft.2003.11.012