Multi-agent Systems (MAS) offer a conceptual approach to include multi-actor decision making into models of land use change. The main goal is to explore the use of MAS to simulate spatial scenarios based on modelling multi-actor decision-making within a spatial planning process. We demonstrate MAS that consists of agents representing organizations and interest groups involved in an urban allocation problem during a land use planning process. The multi-actor based decision-making is modelled by generating beliefs and preferences of actors about the location of and relation between spatial objects. This allows each agent to confront these beliefs and preferences with it's own desires and with that of other agents. The MAS loosely resembles belief, desire and intentions architecture. Based on a case study for a hypothetical land use planning situation in a study area in the Netherlands we discuss the potential and limitations of the MAS to build models that enable spatial planners to include the 'actor factor' in their analysis and design of spatial scenarios. In addition, our experiments revealed the need for further research on the representation of spatial objects and reasoning, learning and communication about allocation problems using MAS. (C) 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.