An Agent-Based Modeling Framework for Simulating Human Exposure to Environmental Stresses in Urban Areas

Several approaches have been used to assess potential human exposure to environmental stresses and achieve optimal results under various conditions, such as for example, for different scales, groups of people, or points in time. A thorough literature review in this paper identifies the research gap regarding modeling approaches for assessing human exposure to environment stressors, and it indicates that microsimulation tools are becoming increasingly important in human exposure assessments of urban environments, in which each person is simulated individually and continuously. The paper further describes an agent-based model (ABM) framework that can dynamically simulate human exposure levels, along with their daily activities, in urban areas that are characterized by environmental stresses such as air pollution and heat stress. Within the framework, decision-making processes can be included for each individual based on rule-based behavior in order to achieve goals under changing environmental conditions. The ideas described in this paper are implemented in a free and open source NetLogo platform. A basic modeling scenario of the ABM framework in Hamburg, Germany, demonstrates its utility in various urban environments and individual activity patterns, as well as its portability to other models, programs, and frameworks. The prototype model can potentially be extended to support environmental incidence management through exploring the daily routines of different groups of citizens, and comparing the effectiveness of different strategies. Further research is needed to fully develop an operational version of the model.


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