Urban Planning Fundamental: Facilitate a Strong Labor Market

Wendell Cox reviews a new working paper by Alain Bertaud called “Cities as Labor Markets.” Cox calls the lesson contained therein “Urban Planning 101” and a “much needed midcourse correction to urban planning around the world.”

1 minute read

March 6, 2014, 12:00 PM PST

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


Wendell Cox is clearly a fan of the “Cities as Labor Markets” paper by Alain Bertaud, hoping its claims will redirect the attentions of urban planners around the country. To make the case for the importance of Bertaud’s arguments, Cox calls attention first to the importance of mobility to well functioning labor markets.

Bertaud also talks about the concept of cities as unified labor markets. “Metropolitan areas will be hampered in their development and innovation to the extent that they are fragmented,” writes Cox. Therefore, Bertaud is “particularly critical of planning attempts to create ‘urban villages’ within the unified labor markets (metropolitan areas).”

To summarize his point about a required shift in the thinking of urban planners, Cox quotes Bertaud directly: “Increasing mobility and affordability are the two main objectives of urban planning. These two objectives are directly related to the overall goal of maximizing the size of a city’s labor market, and therefore, its economic prosperity."

Thursday, March 6, 2014 in New Geography

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