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A spatially explicit modelling approach to socio-economic development in South Africa

Erasmus L., Van Jaarsveld A.S., Bommel P.. 2002. In : Eds A.E. Rizzoli, A.J. Jakeman. Proceedings of the International Environmental Modelling and Software Society Conference, 24-27 June 2002, Lugano, Switzerland. s.l. : s.n., p. 91-96. International Environmental Modelling and Software Society Conference, 2002-06-24/2002-06-27, Lugano (Suisse).

South Africa finds itself at a development cross road: optimism for "high road" development is bisected by a wasteland of poverty and overpopulation. Intervention policies are largely "faith-based", even in the face of rising uncertainties surrounding population growth, HIV/Aids and resource availability. Added to this are the complexities of disparate spatial development and social scenarios, mass urbanization and immigration. In order to confront these threats, decision makers need analytical tools that can be used to explore potential intervention policies for their efficacy, desirability and inadvertent consequences in non-target sectors. Such tools should adequately address uneven spatial development across environmental, economic and social sectors over intermediate time scales. In this study, an object-oriented modelling approach was used to allow the analysis of magisterial districts [local government regimes] individually, without compromising functional interdependence between districts. Since development trends could not be modelled for individual districts due to a lack of adequate data, a trans-disciplinary dynamic system model of national development was constructed, and the equations derived for this model (LORAX 1.0) were down scaled to represent development at a district level. Agentised modelling was introduced: 1) to facilitate synchronous communication and resource exchanges between districts during analysis, and 2) to implement hypothetical intervention policies [abstracted from likely government actions], in districts where they are called for. This version of LORAX (2.0) provides a useful platform for 1) understanding sub-national trends in development and 2) for testing the consequence of likely policy interventions in a co-evolved human society.

Mots-clés : aide à la décision; développement socioéconomique; modèle de simulation; afrique du sud; système multiagents

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