Architecture and Planning ETDs

Publication Date



This thesis examines the use of simulation as a technique for evaluating growth strategies in developing urban areas. A computer simulation model named SIMCALI was developed as a part of this study in order to demonstrate various applications of the technique to actual planning issues. The model is the central theme of the paper. The setting for this study is Cali, Colombia, a South American city in the process of becoming a major urban area. Cali is confronting several serious problems in accomodating its rapidly growing population. The most critical of these problems is the lack of basic utility service to some sections of the city. While there are plans for alleviating these conditions, up till now their implementation has suffered from lack of coordination between municipal planning agencies and indecision in establishing project priorities. SIMCALI is designed to simulate the settlement process in Cali while providing the city's planners an opportunity to test various growth strategies. The model allows the planners to zone the entire city according to the zoning ordinance. Urban renewal projects are permitted in the zoning plan as well as a development sequence designator. There are also several internal parameters which can be varied. SIMCALI produces estimates for the year 1985 of population in Cali, the total area developed, the number of dwelling units needed for the additional population, and the capital expenditures required to extend utility service to the newly urbanized areas. The year 1985 was chosen as the horizon of the model as it coincided with the horizons of Cali's two principle development policy plans, the 1985 Comprehensive Plan of Development and the Master Plan of the Water and Sewer Systems. SIMCALI' s logic structure is based on these plans in order that the model might act as an instrument of implementation. Policy plans are by their nature general in scope. SIMCALI is designed to be the intermediate step in the implementation process by substituting numbers for general policies. SIMCALI's success at fulfilling its design objectives has yet to be determined. The model is still being evaluated. Nevertheless SIMCALI has already produced several interesting outputs. The most significant implication of the model to date is the possible inadequacy of the present development plans to meet the needs of the anticipated 1985 population. The model predicted a massive housing shortage by 1985, especially among the middle and upper income groups. Thus, simulation appears to have a role in the planning process, although it is questionable whether models should be expected to make decisions. The more appropiate role of simulation is as an empirical aid to decision makers. This is the conclusion reached in the thesis.



Document Type


Degree Name


Level of Degree


Department Name

School of Architecture and Planning

First Committee Member (Chair)

Richard Alan Anderson

Second Committee Member


Third Committee Member

William Weismantel

Fourth Committee Member


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Architecture Commons