You Got to Be Kidding Me!

Another Fun Search Term…

Posted in Politics, The Intrawebs, Urban Planning by Stacy McMahon on June 26, 2007

…leading to this blog.

“free market” urban planning

I don’t know that I’ve specifically addressed that subject, though I hope you can see my leanings in my body of work. If anyone is interested, I do actually have a philosophy on that. Basically, the free market treats land (or housing in particular) as a commodity. Yes, “location location location” matters, and the same house downtown sells for much more than in the suburbs. But within moderately large geographic areas, the market acts as if houses are a identical units sitting on a shelf. This ignores a lot of things that actually do matter to people, from preserving agriculture and open space to the negative effect on traffic of building a large subdivision at the end of a tiny two-lane road. Someone smarter than me might be able to figure out market reforms that would price more of those concerns into private land use decisions, but until then the best bad solution to this market failure is government regulation, including urban planning.


One Response

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  1. ClapSo said, on June 26, 2007 at 3:52 pm

    Yes, what you say is true. However, I live in a small city in upstate New York. We are surrounded by farmland here, but it was shrinking due to suburban sprawl. Enter the young entrepreneurs. There are a growing number of “boutique” farms. Unlike the corporate (one government subsidized crop) mega-farms that ship all over the country, these small, usually organic farms plant multiple crops and are geared to supply the local market. I have seen the number and size of these farms grow over the last several years, and believe by supporting these small local farms, we can slow the spread of McMansion expansion.

    The other hopeful thing I see happening is the conversion of old city factory buildings that have been empty for years, into housing. I still believe we need to do government based, urban planning via zoning, etc. But the two trends above are hopeful, local, free market signs.

    The scientifically impossible I do right away
    The spiritually miraculous takes a bit longer

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