Many environmental problems are determined, at least in part,
by the structure of urban land use, the distribution and relative locations of
administrative, commercial, industrial and residential areas, green recreational spaces,
the transportation network.
While urban (spatial) development is a long-term process, the ability to predict spatial
development, and to estimate the effectiveness and spatial planning, zoning, public development projects,
incentives and many more policy instruments is of considerable importance for urban planning and
thus, ultimately, management.
LUC is a dynamic model to simulate urban and
regional development in term of land use change, using a Markov state-transition model
together with a rule-based expert system (first order production rules) to analyze policy options.
The same basic and generic (cellular automata) simulation engine can also be used for
the dynamic simulation of forest fires, flood events, or desertification.
Based on predicted land use patters, the model also estimates resource use
(WELMM: water, energy, land, manpower, materials) and the resulting waste generation,
for a given (simulated, predicted) configuration of future urban land use and dynamic boundary condition
(from demography to energy efficiency or the effects of new, emerging technologies such as smart metering or alternative, distributed energy systems.
Key indicators are the values and trends of different land use types
associated costs and benefits, resource consumption patterns The city's ecological footprint),
and the resulting emissions and waste production.