Modelling forced migration: A framework for conflict-induced forced migration modelling according to an agent-based approach

C. Searle*, J. H. van Vuuren

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


The challenge posed by the management of sudden migration of large groups of people lies in the ability to portray and predict the scale and dynamics of such movement accurately. This is further complicated by the fact that associated data pertaining to such migration are largely incomplete or untrustworthy. In view of the shortcomings in respect of modelling instances of conflict and the lack of data related to the associated movement patterns of forcibly displaced individuals, a generic framework is proposed for aiding in the design of agent-based models for simulating conflict instances along with the localised decision-making processes underlying the movement of refugees, undocumented migrants and internally displaced persons fleeing conflict-affected areas. A concept demonstrator is developed based on the framework in an attempt to demonstrate the usefulness and practicability of the framework in the context of conflict-induced forced migration in Syria. The value of such a model lies in the fact that it produces as output the corresponding emergent large-scale migration patterns which may assist in understanding the movement patterns of forcibly displaced people and predicting anticipated destinations of these individuals, and serve as a decision support tool for humanitarian relief.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101568
JournalComputers, Environment and Urban Systems
Early online date20 Nov 2020
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021


  • Agent-based simulation modelling
  • Forced migration
  • Humanitarian modelling
  • Migration simulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Ecological Modelling
  • General Environmental Science
  • Urban Studies


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