A matrix to predict Penang’s population distribution

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Here’s a hard subject made easy. Learning to hear Mathematics without speaking it is indeed possible. In any case, the idea of models gets demystified along the way.

There is a policy document, I am told, that says 40% of Penangites shall, in the near future, be living on the island and the other 60%, on the mainland. One must wonder though, are these numbers mere guesswork by policy makers or are they numbers that surfaced as a result of sophisticated mathematical modelling? Let’s find out.

As a matter of fact, the use of models to project population distribution goes back many decades. The basic model was developed by Lowry in 1964 to analyse residential location by regions based on their relative attraction and the distance between them.1 Nearly all the models professionally used for planning population distribution are extensions and refinements of Lowry’s original model.


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