The Department of Human Geography and City Studies speaker series, ‘Geography Speaks’, continues this week with a presentation by UTSC’s very own Dr. John Miron.  Professor Miron will be discussing different models of land use planning in cities, arguing that debates should be refocused on land prices and marginal costs rather than land use regulation.

Professor Miron will be speaking this Thursday, January 24th from 10:00-12:00 AM in the Social Science Building Atrium (MW130).

Light refreshments will be available.  We look forward to seeing you there!

Land Use Planning and the Organization of Cities

John Miron

How does municipal municipal regulation of urban development affect the organization of cities? This paper considers three models. Model A is a linear programming model in which planners allocate uses (demand for land fixed in quantity for each use) to zones (land supply fixed in each zone) within a city to be efficient. Model A shows the equivalence between a planned city and a city in which all land use allocation is through a competitive market in land. Model B extends Model A to include design standards; these drive a wedge between planning and a competitive land market. The problem with design standards is that it is difficult to know when and where to impose standards and how to determine just how large they should be. Model C introduces transportation costs and allows us to think about a problem central to planners: urban sprawl. I draw two important conclusions. First, the planned organization of a city under Model C differs from the design standards of Model B. Put differently, if planners expect design standards to get at issues of sprawl and congestion, they will be disappointed. Second, it is possible under Model C to envisage a competitive market for land that organizes a city efficiently. All that is required is that users bear the marginal costs of their location decisions. The significance of this argument is that it refocuses urban development policy away from land use and toward the notion of prices and marginal costs.