Land Use Decision Making in a Virtual Environment

  • Lucy Kennedy
  • Ian D Bishop
Part of the Lecture Notes in Geoinformation and Cartography book series (LNGC)


This chapter outlines a study that investigates the use of a virtual decision-making environment as a tool for better understanding individual land use choice behaviour. This chapter describes a preliminary study into the extent to which peoples’ land use decisions are affected by varying the visual and social context provided in the virtual environment. Early results indicate that individuals’ land use choices do vary under different configurations of the virtual environment, although not always as anticipated. Under more complex configurations of the virtual environment, users tend to deviate from what would be predicted based on their stated value priorities. Several users found that the three-dimensional visualisation component of the virtual environment was useful for conveying information, but it was not shown to affect their behaviour. Adding social context to the virtual environment, in the form of an agent-based model simulating the behaviour of neighbours, resulted in minor changes to users’ behaviour, particularly when the agents were programmed to make environmentallyfriendly land use choices. Following further development and testing, it is anticipated that the virtual land use decision-making environment could be a useful tool for gaining a better understanding of individual decision making. This information could then be used as the basis of improved models of individual land use choice behaviour, and the development of more effective land use policy in response to significant changes in decision contexts such as climate change. The chapter begins with a brief overview of some key theories about people’s decision-making behaviour, namely rational decision making and the role of values and attitudes in determining people’s behaviour. This is followed by a description of the components of the virtual environment, including an agent-based model, three-dimensional visualisation, and a user interface built inMicrosoft Access. The series of experiments conducted as a preliminary investigation in to the use of the virtual environment are then described, and the results discussed. Overall, some general trends were found, but the limited statistical significance of the results indicates that people’s decision-making processes within the virtual environment are more complex than originally anticipated, and more testing will be required to fully understand this.


Virtual Environment Efficiency Score Economic Efficiency Plan Behaviour Choice Behaviour 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lucy Kennedy
    • 1
  • Ian D Bishop
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of GeomaticsThe University of MelbourneVictoriaAustralia

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