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Book Launch: "Order without Design: How Markets Shape Cities" by Alain Bertaud

  • NYU Development Research Institute 14A Washington Mews New York, NY, 10003 United States (map)

NYU Africa House was proud to support this event in conjunction with NYU’s Marron Institute of Urban Management, NYU’s Development Research Institute, and NYU’s Urban Planning Student Association

Event Program:

5:30 pm: Welcome from the Marron Institute

5:35 pm: Introductory commentary by William Easterly

5:50 pm: Fireside discussion between Alain Bertaud and Weiping Wu

6:35 pm: Audience Q&A

6:50 pm: Book signing


Co-hosted by NYU’s Marron Institute of Urban Management, NYU’s Development Research Institute, and NYU’s Urban Planning Student Association and supported by NYU Africa House, the launch of Alain Bertaud’s new book from MIT Press, Order without Design: How Markets Shape Cities was held on Tuesday, December 11th. In it, Bertaud argues that operational urban planning can be improved by the application of the tools of urban economics to the design of regulations and infrastructure. Drawing on five decades of urban planning experience in forty cities around the world, Bertaud links cities’ productivity to the size of their labor markets; argues that the design of infrastructure and markets can complement each other; examines the spatial distribution of land prices and densities; stresses the importance of mobility and affordability; and critiques the land use regulations in a number of cities that aim at redesigning existing cities instead of just trying to alleviate clear negative externalities. Bertaud concludes by describing the new role that joint teams of urban planners and economists could play to improve the way cities are managed.


Alain Bertaud is Senior Research Scholar at New York University’s Marron Institute of Urban Management. He has worked as Principal Urban Planner for the World Bank and as an independent consultant and resident urban planner in cities ranging from Bangkok to New York.

William Easterly is Professor of Economics at New York University and Co-director of the NYU Development Research Institute. His most recent book is entitled The Tyranny of Experts: Economists, Dictators, and the Forgotten Rights of the Poor. He is a Research Associate of NBER and has served as Co-Editor of the Journal of Development Economics.

Weiping Wu is Professor of Urban Planning at Columbia GSAPP and Director of the M.S. Urban Planning program. Trained in architecture and urban planning, Prof. Wu has focused her research and teaching on understanding urban dynamics in developing countries in general and China in particular.