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Thread: The relationship of the urban and peri-urban property markets

  1. #1
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    The relationship of the urban and peri-urban property markets

    Auckland (New Zealand) is a western style city of 1.4 million people with large and valued rural areas on its peripheries. We have an adopted regional growth management strategy, which largely focuses on the management of urban growth within a defined urban growth boundary.
    My clients are a small local authority with urban and rural areas, near the periphery of the large metropolitan area. They are seeking to achieve urban intensification, new urban greenfields and also to plan and develop new conservation based rural development. In wishing to now promote rural development a major issue has arisen. In brief we have limited understanding of the inter-relationship of the urban property market and the peri-urban property market, and specifically if creating new rural development opportunities will significantly undermine the growth management policy of achieving smart and compact urban growth. Another way of thinking about this subject is our lack of understanding of rural growth drivers - what influences the rural property market and what drives the location and housing type decisions. We are about to write a study brief on this area and my search of various hard copy publications and internet sites has not thrown up any good studies or articles about this subject.
    I would like any comments or referecnes to assist in my search. Thanks folks.

  2. #2

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    Hi. Do you know if peri-urban has the same meaning as suburban?

  3. #3
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    I believe that in the Australian/New Zealand planning vernacular, "peri-urban" is the equivalent of the US/Canadian term "exurban" -- an urbanizing, quasi-rural area just past the edge of an urbanized area. Erie, Colorado; Elma, New York; Los Lunas, New Mexico -- along those lines.

    Remember that Australians have much smaller central cities than the U.S. or Canada; a "suburb" isn't necessarily a area of low density residential development, but rather a generic term for a municipalitiy that's a part of a larger metropolitan area. Sydney or Melbourne proper only have five digit populations, I believe. I don't think NZ has such small central cities, though.
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  4. #4
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    Yes peri-urban is short for perimeter of the urban area - it is the rural area over the urban fence which is influenced by urban growth and values, but still retains a rural if not remote character.

  5. #5

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    It has been a while since I looked at this book, but it may have a discussion of what you are looking for:
    The Economics of Planning by Eric Heikkila (Center for Urban Policy Research, 2000).

    I am not sure, but I have heard the term 'Edge Cities" in America, perhaps that is the same thing?

  6. #6

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    Good Question

    This is an interesting question, and one to which it will be hard to find a definitive answer. I am not surprised that your search has been fruitless, but just in case you missed it, I suggest a careful search of the journal Land Economics. It will have 90% of what is relevant from the US. I also suggest looking at the economic studies that have been done of the urban growth boundary of Portland, Oregon. I believe you may find something published by a Prof James Nicholson in an old Journal of the American Planning Ass'n. I thought I had a copy, but can't find it.
    I think the impact of a "suburban" community's land use policy choices on the "central" city depends on many factors, but it is clear to me that, here in the US, there is a large group of people who will keep moving outward until they escape the city. I am not sure that population exists in NZ, but if they do, persuading them to settle and invest in the jurisdiction you represent by maintaining its rural character will have no real impact on the city, unless in NZ the government can literally coerce them into staying in the city.
    Not sure how helpful this observation is, but to the extent that some freedom of choice about one's living situation is an important aspect of the quality of life, it seems reasonable to offer a well-planned rural option.

  7. #7
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    Thanks folks for your comments. Just asking the questions has helped me to frame a consultant brief. If we produce a good study I will call back here and make it available. It will be the methodology which may be of assistance in other jurisdictions.

  8. #8

    Peri-urbanism

    Mmmm... this is certainly an interesting subject. For me, part of the problem with clear-cut defintions is that ruralism is so often regarded as the absence of urbanism, and as such is treated as something of a policy vacuum.

    The man on the street identifies with urbanism - after all, he is the man on the street! However, ruralism is a much more slippery concept. I agree with many of you - defining rural areas by distance from services, population density and building density is perhaps short-sighted. Perhaps what is needed is a concept that accomodates more than just spatial determinants. What the social, cultural and economic factors are at play in the countryside?

    Here in the UK, this sort of thinking is notably absent. Instead planning policy is created through an urban paradigm, where no coherent concept of ruralism exists. We end up with Rural Screening programmes for policy, after the policy has been made. And we get White Papers that are fundamentally fragmented and swept up in rhetoric.

    I really do believe that rural areas need a lot of attention. Urban sprawl and per-urban contestation should not be viewed as conditions of urbanism, but also as conditions of ruralism. We have already recongised that the line between rural and urban is blurred, we should now work from both sides of the fence.

  9. #9

    Re: Peri-urbanism

    toast wrote:
    And we get White Papers that are fundamentally fragmented and swept up in rhetoric.
    At this point, I'd like to point out that in my experience all UK policy is like this. The UK Government tends to focus on saying things that sound good ("blah blah blah 'Sustainable Development' blah blah 'Best Value' blah blah blah '10 Year Plan' blah"). In my opinion, things that actually happen have more to do with the local authorities and industry in general trying to figure out how they're supposed achieve the vague goals our glorious leader just set them. For the record, (although it is a bit dim and distant past for me being a young 'un) it was just the same with previous Governments, it's just that the Cabinet had more say.
    Glorious Technicolor, Breath-Taking CinemaScope and Stereophonic Sound!

  10. #10
    Not that I'm bitter or cynical or anything.

    Sorry for the rant, I'll go crawl back under my stone now...
    Glorious Technicolor, Breath-Taking CinemaScope and Stereophonic Sound!

  11. #11
    Funny you should say that. I work in central government, though not anything to do with planning. Just this minute come out of a meeting that is exemplary of the grand ideas, but implementation inertia that is rife in govenment.

    Grass roots efforts, local activity - that's the key - small is beautiful!

  12. #12
    I'm not sure about local authorities. I sort of work for Surrey County Council (not in planning, either). Great place to work and all that, and although people don't seem to do that much work they do get things done. But everyone seems to be happy with the status quo (not the band!) and not especially impressed with and about ten years behind what academia is saying is the best way forward... (I also sort of work for Surrey University)

    So what area do you work in?
    Glorious Technicolor, Breath-Taking CinemaScope and Stereophonic Sound!

  13. #13
    I work as a Project Manager for Web Developments at the DTI, but I'm also an MA student in European Real Estate at Kingston.

    Might seem a strange combination, but developing a good website draws on a similar understanding of planning good towns and infrastructures. Right now I'm developing a thesis on Urban Bias in UK Planning. That's why I've signed up to Cyburbia - to try and draw on the collective knowledge!

  14. #14
    Sounds interesting, and makes sense to me - although I'm not that good at designing websites, either!
    A colleague of mine on the EngD course did their Bachelors at Kingston and they reckon it's a bit of a dive as universities go. I can't say it looks that good from the outside - although that will improve if they do actually buy County Hall from Surrey CC. Basically, I'm getting round to asking if you like Kingston Uni.
    In case your interested my work/project/thesis is about managing material use in road construction and maintenance. But it's only been going for 8 months so that may change!
    Glorious Technicolor, Breath-Taking CinemaScope and Stereophonic Sound!

  15. #15
    My course is based in the Knights Park campus, which is pretty derelict. It howls in the wind, the lift rarely works and it's facilities are lacking. The staff can't wait for the County Hall purchase!

    I rarely visit the main campus on Penrhyn Road, as it's not a great place to study. Problem is it's full of certificate students who are there to get qualified, get out and get rich. That's okay, but I appreciate some enthusiasm for learning. Spend half an hour in the library and you'll see what I mean.

    Having said all that, the Surveying school is excellent, and achieved one of the highest marks in the country in the last round of assessments. I don't really have a bad word to say about the surveying course. Problem is, I have many a bad word to say about the surveying profession!

  16. #16
    Cyburbian jmf's avatar
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    Welcome

    Toast,

    Glad you found Cyburbia, I am sure someone here can help you with your thesis. Wish it had been here when I wrote mine!

    I guess my issue with the whole rural planning thing is that often, we, as planners, (and perhaps other professions as well) tend to parachute into rural areas as a first job. We have learned all sorts of theory in planning school, worked on case studies etc but have we learned how this applies to more rural environments? Can we take what we learned in urban design courses and apply it to the rural landscape?

    Also, I have to ask "who is the expert"? The planner knows the theory and can bring previous experience to the table but who knows the community best? Who has to live with the results of the planning initiatives? In some cases, old family farms (ok, especially pig farms) have been forced out of business by ex-urbanites who want to live in the countryside......until they smell the farm.....which doesn't really match their idea of idylic patoral landscape. Another issue emerging here in Canada is the quality of drinking water from wells and the effectiveness of septic systems, especially with the intensification of rural development.

    Just some thoughts....

  17. #17

    Re: Welcome

    jmf wrote:
    ...the effectiveness of septic systems...
    Lol. Sorry, but you just reminded me of the place I used to live (aerial photo being somewhere in one of the forums). We moved there when my parents wanted to try smallholding. The cottage is actually two converted labourers' cottages that are about 140 odd years old. It has a septic tank that hasn't been properly emptied in about 50 years, that we know of, with an 'overflow' into a narrow dyke (ditch) on the edge of the property. (If you're interested, the whole area used to be marshland and is incredibly well drained, maybe because the Dutch did it) The dyke has a fantastically healthy and fast growing reed bed that needs to be severely cut back every two years just to keep the dyke 'free flowing' and legal. But obviously, the septic tank isn't. In fact, the Environment Agency would have kittens if they knew about it, despite the fact that it's obviously not doing any harm, thanks to the reed bed (I tested the dyke water a few years back). We always wondered if they'd bother to fine us if they did find out.
    Glorious Technicolor, Breath-Taking CinemaScope and Stereophonic Sound!

  18. #18
    JMF - I understand where you are coming from. I've just read a very interesting report by the UK Countryside Agency - the formal extra-governmental advocate for rural areas. It's called Rural Proofing, and is basically an admittance that UK policy, beyond mere planning, is fundamentally biased to urbanism. It's fascinating stuff - from MPs not even responding to letters, to policies causing direct damage to rural communities. Definitely worth a read.

    Something else I've discovered - its rumoured that 85% of graduates from the famous Royal College of Agriculture go into Commercial practice and not rural work. At the same time, I imagine that a number of planners etc with nor rural experience are going straight in without much of a clue.

    As you can see, I've had my head in books all weekend, and got more to do. Got an interview with Sir Peter Hall on Thursday (eek!) so need to be prepared.

    JourneyMouse - Ny dad just installed a reed bed at our home in Cornwall. He's dead chuffed with it!

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