America’s ten largest metro areas combine for 34 percent of total GDP, and some 80 percent of the nation’s 5,000 fastest-growing businesses are located in large urban areas. Simply put, cities are critical to driving growth and innovation. Yet cities also offer unique policy challenges. They require energetic local government, but too often such energies are channeled into restrictive regulations that raise living costs and stifle opportunity. So how can city planners effectively manage their cities? Today’s guest, Alain Bertaud, argues that a healthy respect for markets — for the tendency for human action to generate an “order without design” — is key to a well-managed city.
Alain is a senior research scholar at the Marron Institute at NYU. He is the former principal urban planner for the World Bank, and he has worked as a resident urban planner in cities throughout the world, including New York, Paris, Bangkok, and Port au Prince. Most recently, he is the author of Order Without Design: How Markets Shape Cities.