Property Rights, Entrepreneurship and Transaction Costs
Edited by David Emanuel Andersson and Stefano Moroni
Chapter 9: Houston’s land-use regime: a model for the nation
In 1972, Bernard Siegan’s Land Use Without Zoning argued that Houston, Texas, was better off than other major American cities because it did not have zoning: Governmental control over land use through zoning has been unworkable, inequitable, and a serious impediment to the operation of the real estate market and the satisfaction of its consumers . . . [zoning] is not even necessary for the maintenance of property values. (Siegan, 1972, p. 247) Based solely on the 40 years since Siegan’s book, Houston’s land-use regime should be the envy of cities throughout the United States, if not the world. Both the nation’s fourth-largest city and its fourth-largest metropolitan area in 2010, the Houston area grew from about 780 000 people in 1950 to nearly 6 million people in 2010 and is now the nation’s fastest-growing urban area. Between 2000 and 2010, the Houston urbanized area (the city plus all its urbanized suburbs) grew by more than 112 000 people per year, somewhat faster than Atlanta, Georgia (101 500 people per year) and Dallas–Fort Worth, Texas (97 600 people per year), and much faster than any other urbanized area.
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