Originally posted 09/23/2016
This past week, the team met for an update on the progress of the MEGADAPT model prototype. Because it is a double-coupled model, the model building process has been (and still is) complicated; not only do agents, or people, act on the landscape/infrastructure, but the changes in the landscape/infrastructure affect the decisions that the agents make within the model environment.
After many months, members of the team have created a one-directional theoretical agent model that demonstrates a theoretical relationship between populations’ experience of water stress, water managers’ decisions, and the resulting quality of, or investment in, water infrastructure. We are excited that this initial prototype appears to capture effectively how different investment priorities of water managers can result in very distinct patterns of investment in the landscape, and thus affect the distribution of vulnerability of urban residents to water stress.
Patterns of urbanization will also affect the distribution of water related risk in the city. Nevertheless, there are challenges in creating reliable scenarios of the spatial pattern of urbanization into the future. The MEGADAPT team has explored the utility of two different models. These two models create similar patterns of urbanization, although one model appears to better represent the “worst case” of urbanization: what might be expected if the Valle de Mexico urbanized to its greatest extent.
The MEGADAPT model aims to provide coarse-resolution outputs for consideration in decision making. For example, we aim to help decision-makers focus on broader level questions such as: “What might be the implications for hydrological risks if existing areas of green space (i.e., Xochimilco, Texcoco lake) are largely urbanized?” or “What differences might emerge in the distribution of vulnerability if agricultural land is aggressively conserved?”
These scenarios would potentially provide useful information on the social, ecological and infrastructural benefits and risks associated with very distinct solution pathways. Should these pathways seem attractive to decision makers in the city, the next step would be the more detailed evaluation of their suitability and mode of implementation in particular places given local conditions and aspirations.
The meeting concluded in review of the goal of the double-coupled model: through the biophysical models there will be changes in the state of the system (i.e. where flood risk occurs), and that will affect how the actor responds in time through their decision-making criteria. When some thresh-hold(s) of change occurs in the landscape, the priorities of the agents may be changed. In summary, the state of the environment changes the prioritization of the actors; simple to say, but not easy to model.
A collaborative project seeking to improve capacities for risk management in Mexico City and to serve as a model for climate-change adaptation in developing countries.