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The CIPUV Residential Land Use Regulatory Index

A Measure of the Local Regulatory Environment for Land and Housing Markets in Argentina’s Municipalities

Cynthia Goytia, Guadalupe Dorna, Jonathan Cohen, and Ricardo Aníbal Pasquini

May 2015, English

A rich set of unique data on Land Use Regulation and Practices, from the municipalities in Argentina, is used to create a summary measure of the stringency of the local regulatory environment—the CIPUV Land Policy Index (CILP). This aggregate measure, comprised of diverse sub-indexes, summarizes information on the different aspects of the regulatory environment, including the existence of provincial and local land use laws and plans, process of projects approval, their costs and delays, and other sets of rules on local residential land use regulation, like community involvement, the presence of building restrictions (such as floor-to-area-ratio (FAR), open space dedications or minimum lot size requirements), affordable housing requirements, and requirements to pay for infrastructure. The CILP documents how regulation of residential building varies across space and provides evidence on what a ‘typical’ degree of local regulation entails, and how this stringency varies across municipalities. Coastal markets from metropolitan jurisdictions, such as Buenos Aires, La Plata and Bahia Blanca are the most highly regulated. Municipalities in the Northern regions—Northeast and Northwest—are the most lightly regulated. Municipalities over 50,000 inhabitants, in the path of Metropolitan Area development, may have the strongest incentives to practice restrictive zoning. In such jurisdictions, growth of any kind may be perceived as adverse, imposing substantial economic or social costs for residents. Importantly, within metro areas (BUAs), municipalities with an average regulatory environment are 27 percent of a standard deviation below the sample average in terms of approval costs and delays, but are 18% above in terms of local plans, and 17 percent of a standard deviation below for the development of gated urbanizations. The biggest differences between what happens in highly regulated environments and low regulated jurisdictions are found in terms of local plans, the amounts of bureaucratic levels needed for project approval (ZRPI) and in terms of approving costs and delays. In all this cases, the indexes range on average more than 1 full standard deviation, showing the maximum range for the Local Plan Index.

Keywords: Land use regulations, land use regulations indicators, stringency/flexibility of urban regulation, zoning, developing countries cities, municipal government, Argentina