Land Value: Permitting the urban growth machine through conversion into alternative use

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


Following years of austerity, the announcement in 2015 that local governments in England will be fiscally autonomous after 2020, signalled the biggest decentralisation of financial power in living memory. Increasingly, towns and cities are expected to stand on their own two feet and fund their own public services through the proceeds of investment in local business and housing tax - reminiscent of the urban growth machine theories of the 1970s. This paper investigates this situation through the permitted conversion of less profitable office buildings into more lucrative housing developments in England following the then coalition government’s decision to relax office to residential conversion regulations. The paper suggests a potential change in focus for urban planning where a market led imperative for 'urban value creation' could disrupt the contemporary discourse on strategic (spatial) planning. The final section considers the implications of this situation. Optimistically, findings suggest that the fiscal incentive for new local housing tax production could provide a powerful correction to the inertia and delay so often associated with vacant office buildings and the drip feed of new housing supply in England. However, we conclude that there is also a parallel narrative associated with value extraction that impairs the traditional pursuit of sustainable land management.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 29 Aug 2018
EventRGS-IBG Annual International Conference 2018: Geographical landscapes / changing landscapes of geography - Cardiff University, Cardiff, United Kingdom
Duration: 28 Aug 201831 Aug 2018


ConferenceRGS-IBG Annual International Conference 2018
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


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