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When asked to explain the spatial arrangement of a city today, economists typically start from the location-theoretic Alonso-Mills-Muth paradigm wherein competitive bidding for land leads to concentric rings of land uses around a city center or sub-center. With the publication of Principles of City Land Values in 1903, Richard Hurd became prominent at the time in thinking about the growth and development of modern commercial cities. Often cited and yet rarely interpreted, Hurd offers a different, but complementary, perspective on the economy of the city that emphasizes the role of real estate and the internalization of externalities through districting . Hurd wrote at a time when land use planning was largely private , not public. However, many of the tools that are used in land-use planning today (e.g., plans of subdivision , restrictions on land use, and neighborhood amenities) originated in private planning as practiced in the late 19th century. In this chapter, I re-interpret Hurd in the context of modern real estate thought and consider how a real estate perspective helps us better understand spatial arrangement in a city. In an important sense, this chapter bridges between the focus on real estate investment in Chaps. 12 and 13 and the focus on land use planning and transportation in Chap. 15 through Chap. 20. Perhaps as well as any chapter in this book, this chapter exemplifies the importance of self-actualization : homeowners using their autonomy (freedom) to make choices in the marketplace that realize a life important to them.
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- Districting in the Urban Economy
John R. Miron
- Chapter 14