Cities and Private Planning

Cities and Private Planning

Property Rights, Entrepreneurship and Transaction Costs

Edited by David Emanuel Andersson and Stefano Moroni

Through comprehensive case studies of privately planned cities and neighbourhood in Asia, Europe and North America, this book characterizes the theoretical basis and empirical manifestations of private urban planning. In this innovative volume, Andersson and Moroni develop an understudied aspect of urban planning and re-evaluate conceptions of our urban future.

Chapter 1: Introduction: private enterprise and the future of urban planning

Stefano Moroni and David Emanuel Andersson

Subjects: economics and finance, austrian economics, institutional economics, urban economics, urban and regional studies, cities, urban economics, urban studies


Usually when people think about land use and infrastructure planning they imagine a public actor. The term ‘urban planning’ evokes images of politicians, bureaucrats and technicians engaged in introducing regulations and public services on public lands. Body-Gendrot et al. (2008b, p. 3) write that: ‘planning is traditionally perceived as the paradigmatic product of twentieth-century welfarist urban government, as a technique of land use that was supposed to wrench cities from the clutches of speculators and develop them, hopefully, in the public interest.’ But private actors also plan use of land, regulation of buildings and provision of infrastructure as well as a variety of services (Alexander, 2001; Holcombe, 2012). This kind of ‘private planning’ was usual in the city of the nineteenth century, and has again become popular, in particular in so-called ‘contractual communities.’ Examples of such communities include homeowners’ associations, shopping malls and office parks (see Chapter 3 in this book). Private planning has always been the most important type of ‘infill’ planning. But there are also numerous examples that encompass more than mere infill. Today such private urban planning ranges from small condominiums to medium-sized towns. Large-area private communities usually offer community-delimited laws and regulations as well as territorial goods and services (Brunetta and Moroni, 2011).