Taming The Growth Machine
The Promises and Pitfalls of Land Value Capture

March 15-17

City Debates 2023 explores the possibilities for advocates of just and green cities to introduce, develop, and adapt Land Value Capture (LVC) tools in ways that render cities more viable, just, and inclusive. To this end, the conference probes the possibilities provided by Land Value Capture tools (LVC) to contain the unbridled development drives triggered by the financialization of cities and recover a role for local planning agencies.

Over the past two decades, numerous cities (including Beirut) have embraced real-estate investment as the main (sometimes only) investment sector and introduced facilities to encourage building development. Conversely, urban and national authorities have rarely recovered any of the gains, which means that much of the speculative profits accumulated from the building frenzy have been grabbed by a handful of developers, bankers, and political actors.

Encouraged by the successful experiences of several planning authorities (e.g., Brazil, Colombia) in using LVC to introduce inclusionary housing measures, finance direly needed infrastructures, and curb speculation, our ambition with City Debates 2023 is to bring to Beirut an informed discussion of LVC tools as possible pathways to finance infrastructure developments, planning interventions (e.g., climate) and affordable housing. However, while potentially promising, market tools can be easily distorted and provide the wrong incentives for local authorities that are often manned by land developers and their allies. As such, the conference will bring a diversity of experiences and positions to reflect collectively on promises and pitfalls. 

City Debates 2023 is organized by the Master in Urban Planning, Policy and Design Programs, the Beirut Urban Lab, and the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy.