Property Rights, Entrepreneurship and Transaction Costs
Edited by David Emanuel Andersson and Stefano Moroni
Chapter 2: Cities and planning: the role of system constraints
The term ‘urban planning’ evokes images of technocratic politicians, bureaucrats and property developers negotiating the location and design of office parks, roads or housing estates. But this is only one aspect of how the built environment comes into existence. In most cities, there is both governmental and private urban planning, although the latter type tends to be smaller in scale. Private planning often takes the form of infill, which denotes the detailed determination of what happens in individual city lots or blocks. Peter Gordon (2012, pp. 181–2) writes that: Many of the world’s great cities (especially the capitals) have touches of the Grand Manner planning tradition. But monumental citadels, public halls, public squares and spaces, the occasional City Beautiful monument, and similar elements along parade grounds or ceremonial axes are not where most of the world’s city people live and work. In fact, most cities (even the great capitals) are populated by spontaneous fill-in, much of which cannot be easily linked to any grand plan or vision. Sometimes private planning encompasses more than mere infill. In America, about half of all urban housing that has been built after 2000 is situated within privately planned community associations such as homeowner associations or condominiums (Webster et al., 2002).
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