Chapter 6: Land prices and governmental policy
The reorganisation of public administration is advanced occupational therapy. Friso De Zeeuw, 2010 One of the figures in the film The Godfather is Moe Green. Moe Green is presented to the audience as the imaginary founder of Las Vegas. It was, in the words of one of the Mafia bosses, a visionary idea: it did not involve any spatial planning whatsoever. Moe Green put Las Vegas on the map as a private initiative. He cashed all the profits and used them to further adorn his creation: making the Strip even longer, the Bellagio fountains even more beautiful. All these facilities could be paid for from the land proceeds; no taxes whatsoever were levied. This concept of a city as the project of a single private person seems unreal to the Dutch. Still, it is a useful frame of reference in considering governmental policy where spatial planning is concerned. What goes wrong if a city is taken to be a project of the city’s council that develops the city with a view to maximum revenue, but also in competition with other cities that all strive after the favour of potential inhabitants? Land prices are closely linked to the level of the facilities in the direct surroundings. The total surplus value of land for residential purposes in Dutch cities amounts to approximately EUR 340 billion.
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