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  • Order Without Design

  • How Markets Shape Cities (The MIT Press)
  • By: Alain Bertaud
  • Narrated by: Camille Mazant
  • Length: 20 hrs and 10 mins

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Order Without Design

By: Alain Bertaud
Narrated by: Camille Mazant
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Publisher's Summary

An argument that operational urban planning can be improved by the application of the tools of urban economics to the design of regulations and infrastructure.

Urban planning is a craft learned through practice. Planners make rapid decisions that have an immediate impact on the ground - the width of streets, the minimum size of land parcels, the heights of buildings. The language they use to describe their objectives is qualitative - “sustainable,” “livable,” “resilient” - often with no link to measurable outcomes. Urban economics, on the other hand, is a quantitative science, based on theories, models, and empirical evidence largely developed in academic settings. In this audiobook, the eminent urban planner Alain Bertaud argues that applying the theories of urban economics to the practice of urban planning would greatly improve both the productivity of cities and the welfare of urban citizens.

Bertaud explains that markets provide the indispensable mechanism for cities' development. He cites the experience of cities without markets for land or labor in pre-reform China and Russia; this “urban planners' dream” created inefficiencies and waste. Drawing on five decades of urban planning experience in 40 cities around the world, Bertaud links cities' productivity to the size of their labor markets; argues that the design of infrastructure and markets can complement each other; examines the spatial distribution of land prices and densities; stresses the importance of mobility and affordability; and critiques the land use regulations in a number of cities that aim at redesigning existing cities instead of just trying to alleviate clear negative externalities. Bertaud concludes by describing the new role that joint teams of urban planners and economists could play to improve the way cities are managed.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.

©2018 Alain Bertaud (P)2020 Echo Point Books & Media, LLC

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  • Joel Pollen
  • 05-04-2021

great book, rough around the edges performance

I think this is a great book, and very important for our times. it does not adapt as well to audio format as other books do, because it contains a number of figures and equations which lend themselves to visual evaluation.

This is also one of the worst narrated books I've encountered on audible. It's mostly not the narrator's fault. Rather, it's clear from only a few minutes of listening to this book that very little editing was done. There are quite a few long pauses, and innumerable awkward starts and stops which are fairly disruptive to the listening process, and a few times even when the narrator says the same sentence twice in a row. Perhaps they were rushing to get this to production, but corners were certainly cut in the process.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 12-05-2021

A must read if you're interested in cities

This book brings a deep understanding of the fundamental economic forces involved in urbanization. These ideas are vital to good urban planning and policy, but are often missing. Anyone interested in cities but not already well versed in urban economics should read this book.

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