Northern Ontario Demographic and Income Trend Model — Prototype

In December 2012, members of our team went to Sudbury to work with a group of people interested in how Northern Ontario might be affected by a transportation spine to the Ring of Fire.

The prototypes we were able to develop during the 3-day intensive allowed us to test models that have a high-degree of interactivity, whereby users can easily change variables and see how the changes might play out.

Steve Williams narrates this introduction to the Northern Ontario Demographic and Income Trend Model he developed for the simulation project, in consultation with economist David Robinson. 

David Robinson: Here we model the case if things proceed as they have previously in Canada. The federal government and provincial governments are all trying to avoid this simple case. It’s relatively simple to extend this model to account for some more sophisticated policies intended to let local first-nations people use these developments.

Steve Williams blogs on visualization and modelling at We will be featuring more of Steve Williams’ models, and his thinking about these issues, on Social Innovation Simulation.

Dr. David Robinson is an economist at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Canada. 

IMPORTANT NOTE: this was/is an opportunity to prototype the simulation technology rather than to delve deeply into the complex experiences of Northern communities. Certain assumptions have been made about the nature of community economic development, education, job creation, etc., based on conversation and back-of-the-napkin calculation rather than a comprehensive research process.


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