Reforming Land-Use Planning: Property Rights Approaches

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The conventional wisdom in land use planning circles is that the 1947 Town and Country Planning Acts represent the most important step forward in the history of British land use planning. This is not a view that is based on systematic evaluation and, as this paper argues, there are good reasons for believing it to be misplaced. The problems with the land use planning system are analogous to those previously experienced with a number of the nationalised industries. Just as many of those industries failed to deliver economic efficiency or, often, even a service to customers - so nationalised land development rights and the large element of administrative discretion in land use planning do not seem to be delivering results in a way that is either cost-effective or in line with what people actually want.