Economics and Land Use Planning by Alan Evans

By Alan Evans

The book's objective is to attract jointly the economics literature on the subject of making plans and set it out systematically. It analyses the economics of land use making plans and the connection among economics and making plans and addresses questions like: What are the boundaries of land use making plans and the level of its objectives?; Is the purpose aesthetic?; Is it efficiency?; Is it to make sure equity?; Or sustainability?; And if all of those goals, how may still one be balanced opposed to one other?

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Goods such as these are unique and irreproducible. They clearly have a value but what is that value? It is not only the nearby residents or even the visitors to the site who value such things. In the case of extreme examples such as the Taj Mahal, the ruins of Machu Picchu, or the temples of Abu Simbel it is clear that these also have a value to those who may never visit them. In economic jargon there is an `option' value ± a value to those who might wish to visit and who would wish to retain the option to do so, and there is a `bequest' value ± it has a value in that the current generation would wish to bequeath it to future generations.

Permitted densities vary considerably between countries and cities, but this variation can, of course, be explained in terms of cultural or income differences. Nevertheless, even within a given city, within a given culture, permitted densities are likely to be higher in the inner areas than in the suburbs. So, in the original County of London Development Plan of 1951 the proposed residential densities were of 200 persons per acre in the central area, 136 per acre in the area surrounding it, and 100 per acre in the rest of the County north of the Thames but 70 per acre south of the Thames (London County Council 1951, p.

The results would then be put up to the political body making the decision in the form of a Planning Balance Sheet. The best available description of the costs and benefits, their nature and importance, and where it is thought possible, their value, would appear in this balance sheet and a recommendation might be made to the political body on the basis of this tabulation. In some circumstances, however, the decision might be left to the political authority. In either event the decision would be made with information which was as full as possible, but which stopped short of a complete valuation of all the costs and the benefits.

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