Land Lines articles offer lessons for Latin America
A new compilation of Land Lines articles from 2000 to 2012 translated into Spanish, Políticas de suelo urbano: Perspectivas internationales para América Latina / Urban Land Policy: International Perspectives for Latin America, provides a range of insights on critical land policy issues relevant to the region.
The CD of 53 articles, a companion to the Lincoln Institute’s previous compilation Perspectivas urbanas: Temas críticos en políticas de suelo en América Latina / Urban Perspectives: Critical Land Policy Themes in Latin America, includes research studies conducted outside Latin America but chosen—through direct consultation with associates in the region—for their potential to provide lessons based on similar experiences and to inspire local improvements and innovations in land policy analysis, design, implementation, and evaluation. Together they present a broad spectrum of original insights on critical themes in urban land policy and explore the opportunities and limits to the international transfer of ideas.
Edited by Laura Mullahy, consultant, and Martim O. Smolka, director of the Program on Latin America and the Caribbean at the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, the collection covers challenges and dilemmas in Europe, the United States, China, and other places that are instructive for decision-makers in Latin America. Themes include the effects of land use regulation on housing supply; justification for fiscal exemptions for particular groups; tensions between individual property rights and social needs; sanctions for holding vacant land; integration of affordable housing into the social fabric; revitalization of abandoned or blighted central neighborhoods; mitigation of costs from sprawl; and the feasibility of designing and implementing a “green” agenda.
The editors’ introduction focuses on the topic that inspired this collection—the international transfer of ideas related to urban land policy, including the use of concepts, policies, programs, institutional arrangements, and planning tools developed in different contexts.
Despite the common tendency to think of Latin America as a homogeneous region, the cultural, political, historical, and institutional differences among countries may be as significant as the differences between the region and the rest of the world. For example, mixed-used developments at the fringe of Mexican cities may have fewer points of comparison with those in Caracas than with their counterparts in the U.S. states of California and Arizona.
In addition, insights gained from smart growth and other techniques to manage urban expansion in the United States may have greater resonance in some Latin American jurisdictions than would Colombia’s Nuevo Usme experience or Brazil’s Social Urbanizer efforts to provide serviced land and affordable housing at the urban periphery.
The exposure to ideas and the international transfer of good practices remains a work in progress, underscoring the need to assess the impact of transferred practices in terms of efficiency, equity, and sustainability of land use. These issues, germane to the work of the Lincoln Institute and other international organizations and agencies, require more comprehensive analysis, but the articles presented in this volume are designed to provide inspiration for the development of better answers.