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Assessing Urban Land Use Regulation in Argentina

Literature Review and Research Strategy

Cynthia Goytia and Ricardo A. Pasquini

July 2013, English

This paper reports the advances made in our research on urban land regulation in Argentina during 2010 and 2011 and describes what we plan to do next. In this research we aim at a better understanding of the determinants and consequences of urban land regulation, based on empirical analysis of Argentinean cities. Exploratory work started in 2009 when we carried out a comprehensive Land Use Regulation and Practices Survey of planning directors in 118 municipalities, generating a comprehensive database for the main urban agglomerations in the country. Subsequently, we extended the survey to cover an additional 331 municipalities and added data on land cover metrics derived from satellite images. Preliminary findings show that 60 percent of the built-up area of the average municipality is located in the urban core and 39 percent in suburban locations. The size of built-up core area increases with city size, reaching 85 percent in the largest cities. Interestingly, built-up areas include a significant amount of open space. In terms of growth patterns, spatially fragmented new development declines monotonically with city size suggesting not only that fragmentation gets filled-up over time but also that most new development occurs as extensions of the build-up core area. Moving forward we plan to examine the links between land cover metrics and regulation and improve the explanatory power of our regulation indicators with new data and weighted zoning measures.

Keywords: urban land use regulation, stringency/flexibility of urban regulation, zoning, urban regulation indicators, Argentina cities, land cover metrics, satellite images