Can A Charter City Save Honduras?

Adam Davidson explores Honduras's experimentation with economist Paul Romer's theories on the need for poor countries to build special economic development zones that essentially "start from scratch" with new legal and political systems.

Based on the belief in the economic power of well-run cities, and the crippling effects of "invidious systems (corruption, oppression of minorities, bureaucracy)" often found in poor countries, "Romer developed the idea of charter cities - economic zones founded on the land of poor countries but governed with the legal and political system of, often, rich ones." 

Honduras imported the idea in late 2010, and has implemented the concept to varying effect since then. 

"There are, of course, countless ways that this charter city could go wrong, but Romer has a point," observes Davidson. "Huge numbers of people are already moving to the world's cities, too many of which are set up to create unstable poverty. Wealthy countries spend billions per year on projects designed to reform governments, build modern utilities or teach their workers new agricultural techniques. For all the cash, there has been very little success. Sponsoring a charter city, Romer said, may be a better (and cheaper) way to help."

Over at Next American City, Greg Lindsay has a more thorough exploration of the subject.   

Full Story: Who Wants to Buy Honduras?


Book cover of the Guide to Graduate Planning Programs 4th Edition

Thinking about Grad School?

New! 4th Edition of the Planetizen Guide to Graduate Urban Planning Programs just released.
Starting at $24.95

Prepare for the AICP Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $209
Book cover of Contemporary Debates in Urban Planning

Contemporary Debates in Urban Planning

Featuring thought-provoking commentary and insights from some of the leading thinkers and practitioners in the field.

City Coasters

Hand-drawn engraved maps of your favorite neighborhoods are divided up across 4 coasters making each one unique.