The Dynamics of Land Development in Resort Communities: A Multi-agent Simulation of Growth Regimes and Housing Choice

Over the past thirty years, recreation communities in many parts of the globe have gone through cycles of diversification and integration into complex recreation regions. As resort communities mature, they face increasing pressures on scarce recreational resources, demands for economic diversification, and changing attitudes toward tourism on the part of local residents. A variety of land-use management practices and economic development initiatives has emerged in resort towns in response to resource congestion and other growth issues. In this paper we explore alternative growth strategies through a simulation of housing decisions by primary actors in resort land markets. We use a multi-agent system to model the dynamics of growth regimes, assess the influence of recreational and town amenities, and evaluate the effect of alternative growth processes on long-term development patterns. Our case study area is Steamboat Springs and surrounding parts of Routt County, a four-season recreational region in northwestern Colorado.