Patrik Schumacher: Urban Policy Manifesto

1. Regulate the Planners: Development rights must be the starting point, then tightly define and circumscribe the planners’ scope and legitimate reasons for constraining development rights: access/traffic constraints, infringements of neighbours’ property utilisation (rights of light), historic heritage preservation, pollution limits. Nothing else can be brought to bear – no social engineering agendas!

2. Abolish all land use prescriptions: The market should perhaps also allocate land uses, so that more residences can come in until the right balance with work and entertainment spaces is discovered. Only the market has a chance to calibrate this intricate balance.

3. Stop all vain and unproductive attempts at “milieu protection”

4. Abolish all prescriptive housing standards: Planners and politicians should also stay away from housing standards in terms of unit sizes, unit mixes, etc. Here too the market has the best chance to discover the most useful, productive and life/prosperity-enhancing mix. The imposition of housing standards protect nobody, they only eliminate choices and thus make all of us poorer. Stop all interventions and distortions of the (residential) real estate market. (All subsidised goods are oversupplied and thus partially wasted.)

5. Abolish all forms of social and affordable housing: No more imposition of quota of various types of affordable housing, phase out and privatise all council housing, phase out the housing benefit system (and substitute with monetary support without specific purpose allocation).

6. Abolish all government subsidies for home ownership like Help to Buy: This distorts real housing preferences and biases against mobility.

7.  Abolish all forms of rent control and one-fits-all regulation of tenancies: Instead allow for free contracting on tenancy terms and let a thousand flowers bloom. Here is a recipe for the creation of the dense, urban fabric that delivers the stimulating urbanity many of us desire and know to be a key condition of further productivity gains within our post-fordist network society.

8. Privatise all streets, squares, public spaces and parks, possibly whole urban districts

From a talk at the World Architecture Festival
2018 | Berlin

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