Beware the Best of Government Intentions: Planning and Paying for Planning in the US

6 August 2009

Beware the Best of Government Intentions:
Planning and Paying for Planning in the US (with some lessons for Oz)

Prof. Alan Peters, Associate Dean Research
Professor and Head, Urban and Regional Planning
Director, Planning Research Centre
Faculty of Architecture, Design and Planning
University of Sydney

This talk will look at the ways in which the American planning system has changed over the past quarter century, in particular, the move away from direct planning regulation towards a more flexible system based on incentives, outcomes and the creation of quasi-markets.

The new system includes such things as Tax Increment Financing (TIFs) that raise capital for development by forcing land-use planning and infrastructure planning to occur simultaneously, Transferable Development Rights (TDRs) that allow planners to downgrade land-values while not prejudicing the interests of land-owners, and performance-based zoning that radically moves away from the belief in separated land-uses that has so dominated 20th century urban planning in most Anglo societies.

The result is a much more flexible system, but one that is much more complex to manage and much more prone to unintended consequences.

Most of the talk will focus on the tools US planners now use to encourage economic growth locally. This is now the most expensive part of the state and local planning system but is quite bizarrely complex and riddled with unintended consequences. The lesson from this is not that planners should go back to a more traditional regulatory role but that if planners are to be more flexible and "market-oriented" then they need to understand the operation of the land markets much better.

This talk is presented by both the Thursday Night Lecture Series and the Planning Research Centre.

Time: 6.30pm to 7.30pm plus Q&A

Location: Architecture Lecture Theatre 1

Cost: This is a free event

Contact: Sue Lalor

Phone: 9114 0941

Email: 053f2f2e051b241706085f402f473d006a30094068105e