In this paper, we present an experimental trial involving the use of a complex spatial simulation platform to support a planning decision process in the city of Besançon (eastern France). The experimental trial began in October 2012. It involved two researchers in geography and planning from the University of Franche-Comté (Besançon, France) and two planning practitioners working in Besançon city council's planning service: the Department of Planning, Projects and Forward Planning. The first stage of the trial was the collective definition and simulation of a baseline position simply extending existing trends from 2010 to 2030: the ‘Business as usual’ scenario. The second stage was a collective reflection on possible modifications to some of the variables and parameters of this scenario in order to simulate a pro-active policy of housing construction in the medium term.
The simulation platform MobiSim was used in this context to explore the possible outcomes of the two spatial planning policies on residential migrations over a 20 year period.

Tannier C., Hirtzel J., Stephenson R., Couillet A., Vuidel G., Youssoufi S. (2015), Conception and use of an individual-based model of residential choice in a planning decision process. Feedback from an experimental trial in the city of Besançon, France, Progress in Planning, DOI: 10.1016/j.progress.2015.04.001