The Formation of Urban Spatial Structures

Markets vs. Design

+ Brandon Fuller

Alain Bertaud's latest contribution to the Marron Institute's working paper series considers the roles of and tensions between markets and design in shaping the spatial structures of cities. The paper addresses the following questions:

"How do markets and design contribute to the development of cities?  Are markets or is design more likely to shape a city in such a way that an equilibrium is achieved between land consumption and commuting speed?  Should planners substitute their own designs for market forces in order to obtain a better spatial outcome or, to the contrary, should planners rely more on markets to guide urban developments? If the efficiency of urban spatial structures rests on a trade-off between land consumption and commuting speed and cost, what indicators should planners develop to monitor progress in urban structure efficiency?"

Read the full working paper here. See also Alain's posts of excerpts on Mumbai's Cotton Mills and rules regarding sunlight in pre-reform China.

Tile image courtesy of Kyle Hasegawa via Flickr.

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