Should Britain Scrap its Green Belts to Build Houses?

Housing construction hasn't kept up with Britain's robust population growth. The Economist floats several ideas for spurring development: relax permissions for developing greenfields, incentivize building on brownfields, and tax the value of land.

"Driven by a baby-boom, immigration and longer lives, Britain’s population is growing by around 0.8% per year, faster than in most rich countries. Foreign wealth, meantime, is pouring into London," notes The Economist. "If supply were rising fast too, increasing demand would not matter; but it is not. Though some 221,000 additional households are formed in England annually, just 108,000 homes were built in the year to September 2013."

The Economist explores several potential solutions to help spur housing construction. Perhaps most controversially, they call for reconsidering the country's urban growth boundaries. "The green belts that stop development around big cities should go, or at least be greatly weakened. They increase journey times without adding to human happiness. London’s, in particular, mostly protects scrubby agricultural fields and pony paddocks. Parts would be prettier with housing on."

Full Story: An Englishman’s home

Comments

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
T-shirt with map of Chicago

Show your city pride

Men's Ultrasoft CityFabric© tees. Six cities available.
$23.00
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.
$18.95