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Book Launch: Order without Design: How Markets Shape Cities, By Alain Bertaud

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Tuesday, December 11 
New York University
14A Washington Mews, New York, NY 10003

Event Program:

5:30pm – Brief welcome from the Marron Institute

5:35pm – Introductory commentary by William Easterly

5:50pm – Fireside discussion between Alain Bertaud and Weiping Wu of Columbia GSAPP

6:35pm – Audience Q&A

6:50pm – Book signing




Join us on Tuesday, December 11 at 5:30pm for the launch of Alain Bertaud’s new book from MIT Press, Order without Design: How Markets Shape Cities. 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.

Event Program:

Professor William Easterly, Co-Director of NYU’s Development Research Institute, will provide an opening commentary on the book. Bertaud will then sit down for a discussion of the book with Weiping Wu, Professor of Urban Planning and Director of the M.S. in Urban Planning program at Columbia’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation, before fielding questions from the audience. Books will be available for sale and signature.


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.

This event is co-hosted by NYU’s Marron Institute of Urban Management, NYU’s Development Research Institute, NYU Africa House, and NYU’s Urban Planning Student Association.