Alain Bertaud



Average rating: 4.4 · 111 ratings · 15 reviews · 2 distinct worksSimilar authors
Order Without Design: How M...

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Cities Without Land Markets...

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0.00 avg rating — 0 ratings — published 1994 — 3 editions
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“I want to make it clear that I am not implying here that all housing issues can be solved through market solutions. Many cases of homelessness, for instance, particularly in affluent cities, stem from social welfare policies and require and immediate government action. It is important from the beginning to clearly separate emergency social welfare from housing policy. Too often, housing policy is conceived as an extension of social welfare applied to the middle class.
In every large city, a small number of households - some may be one-person households - are unable to pay for their housing. They end up in the streets. These households may be permanently or temporarily disabled - physically or mentally - or may have experienced bad luck that results in long unemployment periods. It is certainly the duty of the government to provide a shelter for them as an emergency service. Once in an emergency shelter, social workers can identify those who are likely to be permanently unable to earn an income and then direct them toward a social housing shelter, where specialized staff will follow up on their case. Other homeless households may need only temporary help to find a job and a house they can afford before they rejoin the city's active population. The provision of homeless shelters is not part of housing policy, as it has little to do with supply and demand.”
Alain Bertaud, Order Without Design: How Markets Shape Cities

“The standard urban model has shown us that the price of land in large cities is similar to the gravity field of large planets that decreases with distance at a predictable rate. Ignoring land prices when designing cities is like ignoring gravity when designing an airplane.”
Alain Bertaud, Order Without Design: How Markets Shape Cities

“This mobility [changing jobs and housing three times in 30 months in New York City] was made possible by a buoyant housing and job market, ensuring a low transaction cost of changing jobs and location. By contrast, in Paris (where we came from), housing mobility was hampered by 2-year leases that could not be broken without penalties. Additionally, job mobility was frowned on as a sign of instability-- changing jobs three times in 30 months would have resulted in a resume that raised a lot of eyebrows.

When-- after just 6 months with my first employer in New York-- I found a job that was a better fit with my long-term interests, I was terribly embarrassed by the prospect of telling my employer that I was quitting. My colleagues at work reassured me that this was done all the time in New York, and that a higher salary was a very honorable reason to change jobs. Indeed, my employer gave me a good luck party when I quit!

This is mobility. A flexible labor market, an open housing market-- the flophouse [urban housing] with its low standards but very low rent was essential to getting us started-- and a transport system that is fast, affordable, and extensive enough to allow individuals to look for jobs in an entire metropolitan area rather than just in limited locations.”
Alain Bertaud, Order Without Design: How Markets Shape Cities



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