Friday, January 24, 2014

The Economic Impact of Land and Urban Planning Regulations in India. Alain Bertaud - Review

Bertaud, Alain. (April, 2002). The economic impact of land and urban planning regulations in India.

Alain Bertaud in his research work done in India under the title ‘The economic impact of land and urban planning regulations in India’ looks into the planning and land regulation policies and their impact of them on the supply and demand for urban land. In the introductory note, he noted ‘the regulatory environment in India has contributed to a criminalization of real estate’.  He led responsible regulations in making construction unaffordable for the major section of the citizens. His thoughts were well supported by examples and case studies from different states of the country.

He appealed for the regular audit of the various planning regulations. The author emphasised that the basis for these audits should be governed by three forces - impact on development costs, land affordability for various socio-economic groups and their negative impact on the environment. He then talks about the impacts of them briefly discussing the rent control policy, high stamp duty, large institutional land holdings, inadequate primary infrastructure, plot sizes, intensification of CBD’s, land subdivision regulations, etc,.

In the next phase he identified the expected outcomes of the regulatory reforms and provided the solutions and measures for defining the approach of urban planning. He advocated for the compact cities and more efficient land use. He took a note on the slums and asked for the precautionary measures for the authorities to prevent them before their occurrence. Talking about the land prices, he propagated the need to lower the residential land prices and regulate the prices of the land of the cities prime commercial and business areas to compensate the differences. He also mentioned the increasing trip lengths and called for the intensification of the CBD’s to make less dispersion of the employment thus decreasing the trip lengths. Increase in the consumption of floor space per person for both commercial and residential sectors will eventually led to increase the productivity of the manpower. He also mentioned the use of the ‘ad valorem property tax’ which constitutes an incentive for the local authorities to maintain the land at its best and higher use. In his final note he talked about the rising corruption and took it also a key concern for the rising land values. The land regulations should be regulated likewise as it decreases the opportunity for corruption.

The research paper though provides with an informative aspect but it at some points it lack the proper understanding of the Indian aspect of development. His thoughts and views into the various regulation policies is worthy in respect with the impacts discussed in brief. The comparative studies with different cities provided a base for the implementation process. It talks about a general concept based on human values and emphasised on the socio economic and environmental issues as well.

 The research work could be taken into consideration while developing and regulating the urban planning regulations as it takes a neutral approach in understanding the aspects. The author mentioned ‘Some regulations should not be repealed but simply amended’, suggests a deep insight. He’s not against the regulations in his words rather he suggest some measures which should be inculcated for better and efficient path of human and economic development.

The work could be improved as well with more exemplary notes which may have acted as the basis. The author has however generalised the whole Indian scenario, which could not be possible and beneficial for all parts of this second most populous nations of the globe. However, the overall study is worth a read for the professionals involved in the disciplines relating the field of urban planning, especially those who are involved in planning activities in the developing nations like India.

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