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Essays in planning policy and urban economics

Pietrostefani, Elisabetta (2019) Essays in planning policy and urban economics. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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This thesis consists of four independent chapters. Although the chapters are distinct works, they are related by their focus on urban policy and aim to contribute to the understanding of how planning policies and urban development affect specific outcomes in space. The chapters can be divided into two distinct parts. The first part comprises two studies on conservation planning. The first chapter investigates the complexities at play between conservation planning systems, their applications and how these vary between contexts. Based on a survey of conservation planning systems in 5 countries, focusing on 5 city case-studies, it considers how conservation compares between planning systems of the Global North and Global South and what this suggest about heritage value. The second chapter exploits the Italian context to examine to what extent non-compliance undermines conservation effects given that despite stringent planning regulation, the conditions of the urban environment vary widely throughout Italy, including within protected areas. This study is closely linked to the urban economics literature through an explicit consideration of housing markets and spatial issues. The second part of this thesis comprises two further chapters that focus on the effects of two distinctly urban occurrences: economic and morphological density. The third chapter investigates the costs and benefits of a widely supported policy paradigm: ‘compact urban form’. It asks to what extent even higher densities within cities are desirable by assessing the effects of density on a broad range of outcomes ranging from wages, innovation, rents, various amenities, the cost of providing public services, transport- and environment-related outcomes to health and wellbeing. The final chapter focuses on deregulated planning using Beirut, Lebanon as a case-study given the city’s conspicuous transformations which have dramatically altered the city’s landscape, housing stock, and people-space relations. This chapter specifically investigates how morphological densification affects values residents attach to both their physical urban environments and intangible urban amenities such as neighbourhood belonging. The unifying theme of the thesis is to bring fresh evidence to policy-relevant issues in planning and urban economics by the generation of new datasets for all contexts and the application of multi-disciplinary techniques.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2019 Elisabetta Pietrostefani
Library of Congress subject classification: H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD100 Land Use
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Sets: Departments > Geography and Environment
Supervisor: Holman, Nancy and Ahlfeldt, Gabriel

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