Prof. Bertaud carries a staunch belief that urban planning today is facing a major crisis.
“Urban planners don’t pay enough attention to people, they don’t know what is going on, and don’t take responsibility for it either.”
Urban economists, he believes, have an entirely different attitude towards cities. He further believes that urban planners have a very important role to play, but this role ultimately always turns to words and not action.
“I am well aware that every year I’m learning more about the city. It changes every year; and you are left to adapt to it.”
Economists and urban planners are on the frontline, he claims. However, they zone into FSI issues and neglect the market, and how it reacts to what they want to achieve. Bertaud strongly believes that efficiency in urban planning will come only by understanding the market and its function.
“Cities are labour markets. If we accept this premise, only then can efficient urban planners enter.”
By then deciding which aspect of planning would be governed by market and which by design; you can begin to truly understand urban city planning. Population density carries an exponential curve, totally governed by the market.
Arterial road construction and introduction of various toll roads in Jakarta has had a combined effect on its market forces and densities between 1950 and 2013.
Coming to the main aspect of his discourse, Bertaud stated with conviction that cities become more productive with increase in size
size of their labour markets. Pattern of trips in a metro area explains the function of labour markets. Their growth and prosperity is driven by these markets. The government has a strong antipathy towards the city. It was anticipated that cities of about a million in population would be unmanageable; however what is bizarre now is that cities of a population of about 20 million exist in most scenarios.
“Stop big cities from growing; start smaller cities.”
Large cities may require more maintenance; however empirical data shows that by looking at the wealth a large city generates per person, it can be found that people are more productive despite the congestion in larger cities. A fluid market with efficient mobility systems opens gates for more job opportunities and makes way for greater efficacy in urban planning.
Looking at Paris as an example of a labour market, seventy percent of all trips are from suburbs to suburbs which forces the use of individual cars, as suburbs are too dispersed to be bound by transit. There are many instances where the job opportunities remain constant but population increases with time in city centres. If no system of mobility is provided, it turns into an ugly problem. Mobility depends on each mode of transport serving a different segment of labour force.
“Transport in a metropolitan area is a real estate issue.”
Bertaud opened up a wide expanse of issues by raising the point of transport being a real estate issue. Unpriced use of roads for commuting and parking creates congestion thereby decreasing urban productivity, as well as giving away extremely vital real estate. The share of different modes of transport evolve with changing