The effects of Greenbelt policy in England
Should we build in the city or open land outside the city? Are restrictions on urban expansion a good idea or not? Green areas around cities where construction is forbidden – called ‘greenbelts’ in England – serve to curtail the growth of cities. London, for instance, established its Greenbelt following World War II, effectively maintaining the city’s size at 1950s levels despite population growth. So the question is: What are the advantages and disadvantages of these greenbelts? I study this question in a recent article published in Economic Journal.
Higher parking prices reduce traffic congestion
Higher parking prices lead to a reduction in traffic congestion in Amsterdam. This is shown in recent research by Francis Ostermeijer, Hans Koster, Jos van Ommeren and Leonardo Nunes of the Vrije Universiteit. They find that the sharp price increase in 2019 has led to a 9% decrease in the number of paying policy parkers.…
Wind and solar energy on land: the lack of local support
The Climate Agreement states that at least 35 terawatt hours of sustainable electricity must be produced on land by 2030. The plan is to generate about fifty percent of this sustainable energy by means of solar panels (of which a small part in solar parks) and the other fifty percent by wind turbines. This means that in the coming years many turbines and solar parks must appear in the Dutch landscape. If we indeed want to generate 35 terawatt-hours of renewable energy by 2030, this requires determination on the part of local policymakers to realise turbines. Solar parks are a nice addition, but not a substitute, since a medium-sized turbine generates about as much energy as no less than 28,000 solar panels. The arrival of a turbine and solar park must be accompanied by clear communication about the decrease in house value and any compensation or profit sharing that the construction of a turbine or solar park entails.
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).