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My PhD is concerned with the decision making process when buying land and how that affects land use change. Decision making in these situations depend on two categorical factors: (1) the physical properties of the land itself (land plot attributes) and (2) how that land is priced and bought (land market). However, land use analyses have been focused on the former without considering the effect of different land market processes on buyers’ decisions. This is especially prominent in land use simulation methods applying economic utility theory - these methods inherit the utility's a limited focus on outputs (i.e. the measurable land plot attributes).

Hence, I hypothesise that contexts with different land markets can have an observable effect on land buyers’ choice. That is, land plots pricing and buyers allocation mechanisms psychologically affect individuals - leading to different preferences towards land markets. This eventually affect these buyers’ spatial distribution and the spatial land use change. Accordingly, I propose incorporating procedural utility in land use analyses to account for the 'value of the process'. I also propose an observational approach based on the Self-Determination Theory (SDT) through surveying the motivations of involvement in land markets. With such application, I implement and Agent Based Model (ABM) incorporating both procedural and output utility. Procedural utility reflects the individuals land market preferences whereas output utility reflects the land attributes preferences.

To test this model and identify the actual effect of procedural utility in a realistic context, I induct a questionnaire in Greater Cairo, Egypt. Greater Cairo has multiple formal/informal price and buyers allocation mechanisms which fits the purpose of my research. The initial findings indicate a prominent effect of procedural utility on buyers’ choice of markets. Spatially, the findings relate to segregation where urban enclaves emerge due to clustering of individuals preferring the same land market. This can carry multiple qualitative reflections on the formal-informal context of Greater Cairo, which is part of the potential future research beyond the PhD.

Supervisors: Prof Deljana Iossifova, Dr Nuno Pinto


Yahya Gamal acquired, in 2014, an undergraduate degree of Architecture Engineering from the Architecture Engineering and Tehchnology department of Cairo University, Faculty of Engineering. Since 2014 till 2016, he worked as a Teaching assistant in Cairo Univerisy's Architecure Department. During this two years period (2014 till 2016) he acquired a masters degree in architectural engineering from Cairo University. His masters focused on simulation and optimization models for form changing building materials in case of their use in builidng envelopes; specifically simulation models of shape memory alloys building envelope. From 2017 till 2018, Yahya continued working in Cairo University as an Assistant Lecturer in the Architecture Department. His interest in Simulation modelling led him to exploring the complexity theory and the simulation models at an urban scale, which was his PhD research topic in Cairo University from 2017 till 2018. In September 2018, Yahya joined the University of Manchester as PhD post graduate research student with his current PhD topic that focuses on applying land use simulation models that take into consideration procedural utility. He also currently works as a Teaching Assistant in the University of Manchester, SEED, Architecture department and Planning departiment

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 6 - Clean Water and Sanitation
  • SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 15 - Life on Land

Education/Academic qualification

Master in Science, Form and Nano Smart Building Envelopes Post 20th Century, Cairo University

15 Sep 20141 Dec 2016

Award Date: 1 Dec 2016

Bachelor of Architecture, Architecture Engineering and Technology, Cairo University

15 Sep 20101 Jul 2014

Award Date: 1 Jul 2014

Areas of expertise

  • NA Architecture
  • Complexity Theory
  • Land Use Simulation
  • Utility Theory
  • Agent Based Modelling


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