Thursday, 29 December 2011

Planning fads

Consigned to the dustbin of urban planning, at least according to Mario Polese in the City Journal:

  • Tax breaks and concessions to strategic industries:
    • Often had a negative effect on growth
  • High-tech industrial parks
    • Success highly contingent on complementary inputs not always there
  • Targeting existing "clusters"
    • Picking winners is harder than it sounds
  • Community economic development and local business development grants
  • City branding
  • Targeting the "creative class"
    • A vibrant arts scene tends to be a consequence, rather than a creator, of a prosperous town.
Nihilism? Not quite.
The conclusion to draw from all this isn’t that cities can do nothing to promote economic development. It’s that they should avoid academic fads and quick fixes, which are no substitute for obvious policy goals like competently providing mandated services at reasonable cost, keeping streets safe, and not taxing and regulating away businesses—good governance, in sum, and even that comes with no guarantee to work.
In post-quake Christchurch, these kinds of policies seem a bit like buying lotto tickets to pay off the loan shark instead of taking a second job and cutting back on dinners out.

Reports back from one economist who applied for the economist job with CERA were a little worrying. If we're lucky, there'll be an anonymous guest post sometime down the line.

1 comment:

  1. Nihilism comment nearly but not quite dude, but almost. the next Mayor of Christchurch will be Tim Carter, not nihilist at all.