Modeling urban expansion by using variable weights logistic cellular automata: a case study of Nanjing, China

Bangrong Shu*, Martha M. Bakker, Honghui Zhang, Yongle Li, Wei Qin, Gerrit J. Carsjens

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

39 Citations (Scopus)


Simulation models based on cellular automata (CA) are widely used for understanding and simulating complex urban expansion process. Among these models, logistic CA (LCA) is commonly adopted. However, the performance of LCA models is often limited because the fixed coefficients obtained from binary logistic regression do not reflect the spatiotemporal heterogeneity of transition rules. Therefore, we propose a variable weights LCA (VW-LCA) model with dynamic transition rules. The regression coefficients in this VW-LCA model are based on VW by incorporating a genetic algorithm in a conventional LCA. The VW-LCA model and the conventional LCA model were both used to simulate urban expansion in Nanjing, China. The models were calibrated with data for the period 2000–2007 and validated for the period 2007–2013. The results showed that the VW-LCA model performed better than the LCA model in terms of both visual inspection and key indicators. For example, kappa, accuracy of urban land and figure of merit for the simulation results of 2013 increased by 3.26%, 2.96% and 4.44%, respectively. The VW-LCA model performs relatively better compared with other improved LCA models that are suggested in literature.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1314-1333
JournalInternational Journal of Geographical Information Science
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • genetic algorithm
  • logistic cellular automata
  • Nanjing city
  • Urban expansion simulation
  • variable weights


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