Reinventing cities: Evaluating effective urban policies
Repost from spatialeconomics.nl Cities are a very old phenomenon and, argued by many, one of the greatest human inventions. By 2050, two-thirds of the world’s population is expected to live in cities. The future of mankind is thus an urban one. With these words brand-new professor Hans Koster opened his inaugural lecture ‘Reinventing cities: Evaluating…
Tall(er) wind turbines lead to lower residential property values
Residential property values are negatively impacted when properties are in close proximity of a wind turbine. Compared to houses further away from wind turbines, house prices of properties within a 2 km radius from wind turbines decrease by on average 3.9 percent. These are the findings of a research carried out by Spatial Economics’ associate professor Hans Koster, together with Martijn Dröes (University of Amsterdam). Koster: “We observe that the effects are somewhat stronger as compared to a study carried out a few years ago. We do not see any major changes in the perception of wind turbines – but wind turbines have become substantially taller in the last years. This explains why the effect is now stronger.”
Short-term rentals and the housing market: The effects of Airbnb
This is an edited re-post of a blog published at the Birmingham Business School website. Short-term rental (STR) platforms, such as Airbnb, have grown spectacularly in recent years. Since its launch in 2007, Airbnb has grown into a multibillion dollar business, now offering more than 4.5 million listings in over 190 countries worldwide. Airbnb allows individuals to list their spare…
Empty homes, longer commutes: Effects of more restrictive local planning
Attempting to regulate housing vacancies away by allocating less land or being more restrictive with respect to new building or adaptation of existing structures, in fact increases the proportion of local homes that are empty as well making people who work in the area commute further. The absolute opposite of what the advocates of the policy want to achieve.
The Billion Pound Drop: Did the Blitz enhance London’s economy?
By Gerard Dericks and Hans Koster The Blitz lasted from September 1940 to May 1941, during which the Luftwaffe dropped 18,291 tons of high explosives and countless incendiaries across Greater London. Although these attacks have now largely faded from living memory, our recent paper ”The Billion Pound Drop” shows that the impact of the Blitz…
Parking policy: Do residents benefit from paid parking?
Nowadays it’s almost impossible to find a free parking spot in the large cities of the Netherlands. The main goal of paid parking is to reduce the demand for the limited amount of available parking space, which makes it easier for car drivers to find a vacant parking spot and leaves more space available for land use other than parking. But what about the residents of those cities? Should they vote in favour of paid parking – or not?
The mixed effects of mixed land use
In recent decades, the concept of mixed land use (MLU) has been hailed by urban planners for diminishing the demand for car transport and improving the vitality of urban neighbourhoods. My thesis attempts to better understand how diversity affects the value of land in an urban area. The findings indicate that in general firms dislike mixing with other land uses within the same building while preferring to locate on a mixed street. This suggests that solely from a producer’s perspective, horizontal mixing (on the street) is preferred to vertical mixing (within a building).
Are big-box stores emptying the city centre?
In recent years, many governments have adopted restrictive policies in response to the opening of big-box supermarkets. The economic consequences of the opening up of these new supermarkets became an important policy concern in most countries. A recent study shows that after the first big-box opening, between 20 and 30% of the grocery stores in the area disappear, offering clear evidence that city centres are losing part of their economic activity. However, when focusing on other retailers, the results also indicate that most of the empty commercial premises are taken by other type of small retailers. Hence, big-box store opening is a big threat to grocery stores, making them shut down after the opening, but it does not seem to be the case for the city centre’s activity in general.
You cannot regulate empty houses away
“Almost 57,000 homes in London stand empty…” writes David Smith in the Guardian on May 4th. This he claims is a significant cause of London’s housing problem and the “Key to this is tackling buy-to-leave investing.” The answer to this ‘problem’ is for the mayor to refuse planning permission and for Boroughs ”…to introduce planning restrictions …to prohibit the deliberate practice of letting properties lie empty.“ However, is making planning permission more difficult to get or imposing additional conditions a feasible way of reducing the proportion of empty homes?
Parking and car ownership: Will cheap parking spaces increase car ownership?
Many cities in Europa are congested. A high population density and historic city centres imply that there is little space left that can be used for parking. Parking in European cities is therefore expensive. In the Netherlands residents can get a parking permit so that for them it is possible to park their cars close to their homes. In Amsterdam, households pay usually about €100 to € 400 for a yearly parking permit. This is not much if we compare it with the prices that are paid on the market for parking spaces in the city centre of Amsterdam or the prices visitors have to pay. But what are the economic effects of these implicit parking subsidies?