Assessing Indirect Spatial Effects of Mountain Tourism Development: an Application of Agent-based Spatial Modeling

Many resort communities in the U.S. Rocky Mountain West are experiencing rapid in-migration and growth because the natural and built amenities in those areas attracted people and investment. This study uses an agent-based model to explore how homeowners’ investment and reinvestment decisions are influenced by the level of investment and amenities available in their neighborhoods in a case study area of town of Breckenridge, Colorado to help understand the dynamics and the indirect spatial impacts of amenity-led mountain tour-ism development. This paper found that individual level of appreciation of amenities and continuing investment in a neighborhood attracted investment and reinvestment, and created pressure for high density resort housing development at the aggregate level. Agent-based model is a useful tool to simulate the dynamics behind the housing investment and reinvestment and to investigate the indirect spatial effects of high-density resort development.