Assessing Urban Policies Using a Simulation Model with Formal and Informal Housing : Application to Cape Town, South Africa


Building on a two-dimensional discrete version of the standard urban economics land-use model, this paper presents a tractable urban land-use simulation model that is adapted to developing country cities, where formal and informal housing submarkets coexist. The dynamic closed-city framework simulates developers' construction decisions and heterogeneous households' housing and location choices at a distance from various employment subcenters, while accounting at the same time for land-use regulations, natural constraints, exogenous amenities, and dynamic scenarios of urban population growth and of State-driven subsidized housing. Designed and calibrated for Cape Town, the model is used to assess the impact of an urban growth boundary and of changes in the scale of subsidized housing schemes, informing a discussion of the potential trade-offs in policy objectives and of policy effectiveness.

World Bank Policy Research Working Paper