Publications

2017
Assessing Land Use Plan Implementation:Bridging the Performance-Conformance Divide
E., Feitelson, Felsenstein D., Razin E., and Stern E. 2017. “Assessing Land Use Plan Implementation:Bridging the Performance-Conformance Divide”. Land Use Policy 61:251-264. Publisher's VersionAbstract

The assessment of land use plan implementation is a contentious issue. The debate centers on whether the crucial evaluation element is conformance of development to plan directives or alternatively, plan performance, i.e. the degree to which the plan is actually used. An analytic framework combining both conformance and performance in the evaluation of (regional) land use plans is applied to the case of the Central District Plan in Israel. Qualitative and quantitative simulation methods are exploited. Qualitative analysis reveals that both performance and conformance are greater than indicated by non-contextualized, numeric evaluations. Additionally, high conformance does not necessarily imply good plan performance. Quantitative simulation suggests that plan performance with respect to land values and densities is initially pronounced as expectations for development are subdued but subsequently tends to wane merging with the counterfactual trend. Findings imply that plan assessment needs to consider the transaction costs of land use re-designation and actors’ perceptions of the probability that plan amendments will be approved. These perceptions differ across actors as a function of the political influence that they wield.

Supply-Side Constraints in the Israeli Housing Market: The Impact of State-Owned Land
Z., Rubin, and Felsenstein D. 2017. “Supply-Side Constraints in the Israeli Housing Market: The Impact of State-Owned Land”. Land Use Policy 65:266-276. Publisher's VersionAbstract

House prices in Israel have risen since 2008 by as much as 98%. Much of this increase is attributed to low levels of housing supply and housing supply elasticities. In Israel land is frequently owned by the state. This results in heavy government involvement in the housing market through the control of land supply via land tenders. This paper estimates the impact of state owned land on the Israeli housing market focusing on these unusual conditions of land supply. A model for the creation of new housing units is proposed. This incorporates land tenders, enabling the estimation of housing supply dynamics with an accurate measure of public land supply. The model is tested using regional panel data which facilitates the dynamic estimation of national and local supply elasticities and regional spillovers. The paper uses novel data sources resulting in a panel of 45 spatial units over a span of 11 years (2002–2012). Due to the nonstationary nature of the data, spatial panel cointegration methods are used. The empirical results yield estimates of housing supply price elasticities and elasticities with respect to land supply. Results show that housing supply is positively impacted by governmental decisions but the impact is low. Supply elasticity with regard to government land tenders stands at around 0.05 over the short run and 0.08 over the long run. Government policy of offering land in low demand areas and fixing minimum-price tendering does not seem to affect housing supply. Policy implications point to the need for more sensitive management of the delicate balance between public and private source of land in order to mitigate the excesses of demand shocks.

A Tale of Two Earthquakes: Dynamic Agent-Based Simulation of Urban Resilience
Grinberger, AY, and D Felsenstein. 2017.“A Tale of Two Earthquakes: Dynamic Agent-Based Simulation of Urban Resilience”. Pp. 134-154 in Lombard G.,Stern E. and Clarke G. (eds). Applied Spatial Modeling and Planning,. Taylor and Francis. Publisher's Version
2016
Dynamic Agent Based Simulation of an Urban Disaster using Synthetic Big Data
Grinberger, AY, M Lichter, and D Felsenstein. 2016.“Dynamic Agent Based Simulation of an Urban Disaster using Synthetic Big Data”. in Thakuria P, Tilahun N and Zellner M (eds) Seeing Cities Through Big Data: Research, Methods and Applications in Urban Informatics. Heidelberg: Springer. Publisher's VersionAbstract

This paper illustrates how synthetic big data can be generated from standard administrative small data. Small areal statistical units are decomposed into households and individuals using a GIS buildings data layer. Households and individuals are then profiled with socio-economic attributes and combined with an agent based simulation model in order to create dynamics. The resultant data is ‘big’ in terms of volume, variety and versatility. It allows for different layers of spatial information to be populated and embellished with synthetic attributes. The data decomposition process involves moving from a database describing only hundreds or thousands of spatial units to one containing records of millions of buildings and individuals over time. The method is illustrated in the context of a hypothetical earthquake in downtown Jerusalem. Agents interact with each other and their built environment. Buildings are characterized in terms of land-use, floor-space and value. Agents are characterized in terms of income and socio-demographic attributes and are allocated to buildings. Simple behavioral rules and a dynamic house pricing system inform residential location preferences and land use change, yielding a detailed account of urban spatial and temporal dynamics. These techniques allow for the bottom-up formulation of the behavior of an entire urban system. Outputs relate to land use change, change in capital stock and socio-economic vulnerability.

Spatial Dependence in the Econometrics of Gravity Modeling
M., Beenstock, and Felsenstein D. 2016.“Spatial Dependence in the Econometrics of Gravity Modeling”. in Patuelli R and Arbia G (eds) Chapter 11 in The Spatial Econometrics of Spatial Interaction Modeling. Heidelberg: Springer. Publisher's Version
Dynamic Agent-Based Simulation of Welfare Effects of Urban Disasters
Y., Grinberger, and Felsenstein D. 2016. “Dynamic Agent-Based Simulation of Welfare Effects of Urban Disasters”. Computers, Environment and Urban Systems 59:129-141. Publisher's VersionAbstract

An agent based model for assessing the welfare impacts of urban disasters is presented. This couples a population allocation algorithm with a simulation platform. The fully articulated model fuses both bottom-up (locational choice for workplace, residence and daily activities) and top-down (land use and housing price) protocols. This study moves beyond current research by addressing economic welfare consequences of urban disasters. The resilience capabilities of different income groups are identified. This is illustrated for the Jerusalem central business district. Empirical results at the micro-scale suggest that physical destruction leads to a zero-sum game within the housing market in which wealthier residents hold an advantage over the poor. This results in the transformation of neighborhoods and displacement of poor and vulnerable populations. Low income groups lose both physical ground and the social support systems that go with location. Policy implications of these findings are discussed.

Hedonic Pricing when Housing is Endogenous: The Value of Access to the Trans-Israel Highway
M., Beenstock, Feldman D., and Felsenstein D. 2016. “Hedonic Pricing when Housing is Endogenous: The Value of Access to the Trans-Israel Highway”. Journal of Regional Science 56 (1):134-155. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Standard hedonic house pricing assumes that house prices are independent of the intangible to be priced. A methodology is proposed in which the supply as well as the demand for housing depends on the intangible. The methodology is applied to value access to the Trans-Israel Highway (TIH). Using spatial panel data (2002–2008) we show that TIH had two effects on the housing market. It increased house prices in locations with greater access to TIH, and it affected housing construction. Standard hedonic pricing would have underestimated the value of access because it ignores the effects of housing construction on the intangible to be priced. House prices began to increase three years before TIH was inaugurated, but housing construction did not anticipate the inauguration of TIH.

2015
Spatial Spillover in Housing Construction
M., Beenstock, and Felsenstein D. 2015. “Spatial Spillover in Housing Construction”. Journal of Housing Economics 28:42-58. Publisher's VersionAbstract

A model is proposed in which building contractors have regional preferences so that housing construction in different regions are imperfect substitutes. The model hypothesizes spatial and national spillovers in construction. Although the government does not engage directly in housing construction, it influences regional housing markets by auctioning land to contractors. Contractors are hypothesized to use housing-under-construction as a buffer between starts and completions. Spatial panel data for Israel are used to test the model and investigate the determinants of regional housing construction. Because the spatial panel data are nonstationary, we use spatial panel cointegration methods to estimate the model. The estimated model is used to calculate impulse responses which propagate over time and across space.

Felsenstein, Daniel. 2015.“Big Data in Urban Planning (Special Issue)”. in Tichnun - Journal of the Israeli Planning Association, vol. 12 (2) (Hebrew). Publisher's Version
Simulating Urban Resilience: Disasters,Dynamics and (Synthetic) Data
Grinberger, AY, M Lichter, and D Felsenstein. 2015.“Simulating Urban Resilience: Disasters,Dynamics and (Synthetic) Data”. Pp. 99-120 in S. Geertman, J. Stillwell, J. Ferreira, & R. Goodspeed (eds.), Planning Support Systems and Smart Cities. Heidelberg: Springer. Publisher's VersionAbstract

An agent based (AB) simulation model of urban dynamics following a disaster is presented. Data disaggregation is used to generate ‘synthetic’ data with accurate socio-economic profiling. Entire synthetic populations are extrapolated at the building scale from survey data. This data is coupled with the AB model. The disaggregated baseline population allows for the bottom-up formulation of the behavior of an entire urban system. Agent interactions with each other and with the environment lead to change in residence and workplace, land use and house prices. The case of a hypothetical earthquake in the Jerusalem CBD is presented as an illustrative example. Dynamics are simulated for a period up to 3 years, post-disaster. Outcomes are measured in terms of global resilience measures, effects on residential and non-residential capital stock and population dynamics. The visualization of the complex outputs is illustrated using dynamic web-mapping.

Factors Affecting Regional Productivity and Innovation in Israel: Some Empirical Evidence
D., Felsenstein. 2015. “Factors Affecting Regional Productivity and Innovation in Israel: Some Empirical Evidence”. Regional Studies 49 (9):1457-1469. Publisher's VersionAbstract

The role of human capital and physical capital in determining regional productivity and innovation is examined. Two specific mechanisms through which knowledge becomes an inherently regional asset are investigated: the generation of local externalities (a stock mechanism) and human capital accumulation and mobility (a flow mechanism). Empirically, this connection is investigated using recent advances in spatial panel data analysis applied to regions in Israel. Panel co-integration is used to entangle issues of spurious relationships. Results show that human capital stock has large and relatively consistent effects on both regional earnings and regional innovation levels. Human capital mobility is inversely related to innovation. This is interpreted as reflecting the ‘conduit’ role of the region in the innovation process. Regional capital-to-labour ratios are also inversely related to innovation, implying that physical capital substitutes rather than complements human capital.

Immigration to the European Union from its Neighborhoods: Testing Welfare-Chasing and Related Hypotheses by Spatial Gravity
M., Beenstock, Felsenstein D., and Rubin Z. 2015. “Immigration to the European Union from its Neighborhoods: Testing Welfare-Chasing and Related Hypotheses by Spatial Gravity”. International Journal of Manpower 36 (4):491-517. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to examine the determinants of immigration from European Neighborhood (EN) and new member states to the EU core countries over the period 2000- 2010. Apart from income differentials, unemployment rates and other standard variables hypothesized to determine immigration, the paper focusses attention on welfare-chasing as well as measures to enforce immigration policy. Using a variant of the gravity model, the paper investigates whether tests of these hypotheses are robust with respect to spatial misspecification.
Design/methodology/approach – The determinants of migration from the European Neighborhood and new member states to the EU core countries is estimated using a spatial variant of the gravity model. The methodology is used for both multilateral and spatial flows. Gravity model estimations are presented for immigration into the EU core destinations using standard, non-spatial econometrics, as well as spatial econometrics for single and double-spatial dynamics
Findings – Immigration to EU core countries varies directly with the change in social spending per head in the destination. This result stands out in all the models, both OLS and spatial. Immigrants are attracted by economic inequality as measured by the Gini coefficient. However, in this case it is the level that matters rather than its change. No evidence is found that the threat of apprehension at the destination deters migrants from the European Neighborhood and other countries. 
Research limitations/implications – The authors assume multilateralism is spatial. This means that everything else given, destinations are closer substitutes the nearer they are, and that immigration shocks are likely to be more correlated among origins the closer they are. This implicit assumption is restrictive because multilateralism is just spatial.
Social implications – While immigration to EU core countries varies directly with the change in (not level of ) social spending per head. If a given country becomes more benevolent it attracts more immigration. The results suggest that if during 2000-2010 social spending per capita grew by 1 percent, the immigration rate increased by between 1 and 2 percentage points relative to the number of foreign-born in 2000. This is a large demographic effect.
Originality/value – Uniquely, this paper does not assume immigration flows are independent and stresses their spatial and multilateral nature. A series of new non-spatial and spatial (single and double-spatial lag) models are used to empirically test hypotheses about the determinants of immigration to the EU core countries.

Simulating and Communicating Outcomes in Disaster Management Situations
M., Lichter, AY Grinberger, and D Felsenstein. 2015. “Simulating and Communicating Outcomes in Disaster Management Situations”. International Journal of Geographic Information 41827-1847. Publisher's VersionAbstract

An important, but overlooked component of disaster managment is raising the awareness and preparedness of potential stakeholders. We show how recent advances in agent-based modeling and geo-information analytics can be combined to this effect. Using a dynamic simulation model, we estimate the long run outcomes of two very different urban disasters with severe consequences: an earthquake and a missile attack. These differ in terms of duration, intensity, permanence, and focal points. These hypothetical shocks are simulated for the downtown area of Jerusalem. Outcomes are compared in terms of their potential for disaster mitigation. The spatial and temporal dynamics of the simulation yield rich outputs. Web-based mapping is used to visualize these results and communicate risk to policy makers, planners, and the informed public. The components and design of this application are described. Implications for participatory disaster management and planning are discussed.

Tide Gauge Location and the Measurement of Global Sea Level Rise
M., Beenstock, Felsenstein D., and Reingewertz Y. 2015. “Tide Gauge Location and the Measurement of Global Sea Level Rise”. Environmental and Ecological Statistics 22 (1):179-206. Publisher's VersionAbstract

The location of tide gauges is not random. If their locations are positively (negatively) correlated with sea level rise (SLR), estimates of global SLR will be biased upwards (downwards). Using individual tide gauges obtained from the Permanent Service for Mean Sea Level during 1807–2010, we show that tide gauge locations in 2000 were independent of SLR as measured by satellite altimetry. Therefore these tide gauges constitute a quasi-random sample, and inferences about global SLR obtained from them are unbiased. Using recently developed methods for nonstationary time series, we find that sea levels rose in 7 % of tide gauge locations and fell in 4 %. The global mean increase is 0.39–1.03 mm/year. However, the mean increase for locations where sea levels are rising is 3.55–4.42 mm/year. These findings are much lower than estimates of global sea level (2.2 mm/year) reported in the literature and adopted by IPCC (2014), and which make widespread use of imputed data for locations which do not have tide gauges. We show that although tide gauge locations in 2000 are uncorrelated with SLR, the global diffusion of tide gauges during the 20th century was negatively correlated with SLR. This phenomenon induces positive imputation bias in estimates of global mean sea levels because tide gauges installed in the 19th century happened to be in locations where sea levels happened to be rising.

Visa waivers, multilateral resistance and international tourism: some evidence from Israel
M., Beenstock, Felsenstein D., and Rubin Z. 2015. “Visa waivers, multilateral resistance and international tourism: some evidence from Israel”. Letters in Spatial and Resource Sciences 8 (3):357-371. Publisher's VersionAbstract

This paper tests the visa-led tourism hypothesis which contends that easing of visa restrictions increases international tourism. Israel acts as a natural laboratory in this case with clear before and after junctures in visa restrictions. We use panel data on tourism to Israel from 60 countries during 1994–2012. In contrast to previous work we take account of nonstationarity in the data and test for the effect of multilateral resistance on tourism. Partial waivers of visa restrictions are estimated to increase tourism by 48 % and complete waivers increase tourism by 118 %. Other results include the adverse effect of Israel’s security situation on tourism, the beneficial effect of real devaluation on tourism, and the fact that the elasticity of tourism to Israel with respect to tourism to all destinations is very small.

2014
Simulating Land Use Change in Coastal Areas (Special Issue)
Felsenstein, Daniel, and Michal Lichter. 2014.“Simulating Land Use Change in Coastal Areas (Special Issue)”. in Ocean and Coastal Management, vol. 101. Publisher's Version
Land Use-Land Cover Dynamics at the Metropolitan Fringe
D., Felsenstein, Lichter M., Ashbel E., and Grinberger Y. 2014.“Land Use-Land Cover Dynamics at the Metropolitan Fringe”. Pp. 143-166 in Czamanski D., Benenson I and Malkinson D (eds), Modeling of Land Use and Ecological Dynamics. Heidelberg: Springer. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Diverse pressures for change operate at the outer metropolitan fringe. This paper examines the spatial and temporal dynamics of change in this area. We set up a simple model that incorporates spatial and temporal dynamics of functional (land use) and structural (land cover) interactions. We posit that land use (development) changes the ecosystem functions at the edge of urban areas expressed in change in land cover. Additionally, the characteristics of land cover (forest, agriculture, bare soil, neighboring cover etc.) mutually influence the land use. We estimate a model where land values and land use are jointly determined while land use and land cover interact recursively. We use historical data, probability estimation and land use simulation to generate panel data of future patterns of land value, land use and land cover at the outer edge of the Tel Aviv metropolitan area for the period 1995–2023. The modeling system combines panel 2SLS (2-stage least squares) estimation to investigate land value-land use interactions. Land use-land cover dynamics are estimated using panel MNL (multi-nomial logit) estimation. Results of simple simulations of the probability of land cover change are presented. When coupled with an appropriate biodiversity model, this system could potentially be extended to forecasting other aspects of the environmental stress of metropolitan expansion, for example impacts on vegetation or ecological dynamics.

Bouncing Back or Bouncing Forward? Simulating Urban Resilience,
A.Y., Grinberger, and Felsenstein D. 2014. “Bouncing Back or Bouncing Forward? Simulating Urban Resilience,”. Urban Design and Planning 167 (3):115-124. Publisher's VersionAbstract

While the direct physical effects of an urban catastrophe are relatively straightforward to assess, indirect and long-term impact on the urban system is more circumspect. A large-scale shock such as an earthquake derails the complex urban system from its equilibrium path onto an unknown trajectory. Consequently, assessing the effect of policy intervention that aims to mitigate this shock and increase urban resilience is fraught with complexity. This paper presents the implementation of dynamic agent-based simulation to test long-run effects of a hypothetical earthquake in Jerusalem, Israel. It focuses on investigating the effectiveness of policy choices aimed at restoring the urban equilibrium. Cities are found to have a self-organising market-based mechanism that strives to attain a new equilibrium. They therefore may not always bounce back – they may also bounce forward. Decision-makers, engineers, emergency and urban planners need to be cognizant of this tendency when designing policy interventions. Otherwise, well-intentioned efforts may inhibit urban rejuvenation and delay the onset of city recovery.

Coastal Communities under Threat: Comparing Property and Social Exposure
Lichter, M, and D Felsenstein. 2014. “Coastal Communities under Threat: Comparing Property and Social Exposure”. Geography Research Forum 34:40-58. Publisher's VersionAbstract
We examine the threat to coastal communities from sea level rise and extreme flooding. A distinction is drawn between the exposure of the physical property base of a community and its social composition. We investigate whether any correspondence exists between these two dimensions of vulnerability and whether it holds for both small and large communities. Flood scenarios along the Israeli coast are defined and we  look at the resultant property and exposure patterns in communities at different flooding increments. Results are presented for three select inundation increments. Using comparative and graphic methods, we analyze exposure rankings for different communities and property and social exposure at the intra-urban level. We use break point analysis to trace the evolution of community exposure at different flooding increments. We conclude with some cautionary policy implications with respect to opportunities for change in highly exposed communities in the wake of extreme flooding.
Coastal Congestion: Simulating Port Expansion and Land Use Change under Zero-Sum Conditions
D., Felsenstein, Lichter M., and Ashbel E. 2014. “Coastal Congestion: Simulating Port Expansion and Land Use Change under Zero-Sum Conditions”. Ocean and Coastal Management 101:89-101. Publisher's VersionAbstract

This paper examines the displacement effects associated with new land use development in a congested coastal area. A land use micro-simulation model (UrbanSim) and statistical estimation are used to identify the expected future land use impacts arising from the proposed expansion of the Port of Haifa. Maximum and minimum development scenarios are simulated and compared to baseline (business-as-usual) conditions. Simulation outputs refer to future population, employment, residential and non-residential construction for the city of Haifa and its metropolitan area untill the year 2038. A key finding relates to the spatial substitution effects of additional non-residential floor space on residential development throughout the Haifa region. This highlights the zero sum effects of land use change under conditions of congestion. The challenge of efficiently using limited land use resources and balancing development across many competing uses and stakeholders, is stressed.

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