Cities in developing countries grapple daily with challenging decisions on how to allocate scarce resources. Large and costly infrastructure investments, such as a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system, can have large and long-lasting implications on the spatial form of the city: the connectivity between firms and workers, and between residents and critical good and services such as healthcare.
Recent academic research using structural spatial models has made breakthroughs in the evaluation of urban interventions such as improvements in transport infrastructure. This is because cities are complex systems, and the impacts of such large scale land use changes are felt throughout it, requiring understanding the full equilibrium implications of building up an area.
This project will facilitate improved investment and policy decisions in Cape Town by developing a spatial economic model using cell phone and administrative city data. The model can be used to evaluate the effectiveness of different interventions into the urban landscape, including the potential impacts of new transit systems and changes in land-use or housing policy. We aim to build a package in R to simulate the effects of different interventions in Cape Town as well as train policymakers to run the simulations.