Economic dimension of urban planning

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The economic dimension of urban planning is one of the core dimensions of urban planning and deals with the economic functioning of urban objects and the related impact of urban development and security threats (including security measures).


Urban objects such as residential buildings, industry, utility facilities, roads, etc., do not merely have a directly related function such as housing, commercial, mobility, safety, but also an 'economic function' in terms of the impact on the urban environment. A residential area, for example, will not just house people, but will also generate an economic impact in terms of real estate value, jobs for local retailers, and expenses for local governments in terms of necessary infrastructure, schools, public services, etc. This relationship between urban objects and economic output (in terms of jobs and income) made an increasing amount of urban planners believe in the potential contribution of the planning system to maximise the net welfare of society with the help of appropriate policy measures that influence the delivery of a more attractive, competitive and successful urban area[1].

As a result of the economic function of urban objects, security threats such as crime & terrorism (but also natural hazards), not only have an impact on the direct function of an urban object[2], but also on the (more indirect) economic function of the specific urban object and its environment. In Securipedia we refer to this phenomenon as the economic impact of security threats. Subsequently, possible measures such as surveillance, CCTV, preventive, locks, etc., not only cost money, but will also generate less tangible economic effects due to the impact on the urban area. Fortified retail stores with cameras and shutters, for example, are not likely to contribute to a more attractive and successful urban area.

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Note: To estimate the above mentioned economic impact of existing or newly developed urban objects/environments, threats and measures, economists use several economic tools that measure the economic output such as business output, wealth, total employment, etc. (the measurable part of economic effects).

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Footnotes and references

  1. Source: DHP. End user requirement report (D1.1) VITRUV. Moreover, the increasing population in cities places more and more pressure on the development of land and has lead to the consolidation of the urban core. And, although this has led to a strengthening of the economic and social functions of the cities and surrounding areas, urban planners are at the same time forced to recognize the increasing threats caused by security threats that can have a devastating impact on the economic and social functioning of the urban area.
  2. A severely vandalised house, for example, is not suitable any more for residential use.