The schelling model of ethnic residential dynamics: Beyond the integrated - segregated dichotomy of patterns

  • Hatna E
  • Benenson I
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Abstract

The Schelling model of segregation is an agent-based model that illustrates how individual tendencies regarding neighbors can lead to segregation. The model is especially useful for the study of residential segregation of ethnic groups where agents represent householders who relocate in the city. In the model, each agent belongs to one of two groups and aims to reside within a neighborhood where the fraction of 'friends' is sufficiently high: above a predefined tolerance threshold value F. It is known that depending on F, for groups of equal size, Schelling's residential pattern converges to either complete integration (a random-like pattern) or segregation. The study of high-resolution ethnic residential patterns of Israeli cities reveals that reality is more complicated than this simple integration-segregation dichotomy: some neighborhoods are ethnically homogeneous while others are populated by both groups in varying ratios. In this study, we explore whether the Schelling model can reproduce such patterns. We investigate the model's dynamics in terms of dependence on group-specific tolerance thresholds and on the ratio of the size of the two groups. We reveal new type of model pattern in which a portion of one group segregates while another portion remains integrated with the second group. We compare the characteristics of these new patterns to the pattern of real cities and discuss the differences.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Ethnic segregation
  • Minority-Majority Relations
  • Schelling model

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