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Zoning and Property Rights

Chinese Agriculture

Lawrence Wai-chung Lai

Publication Year: 1996

The author combines the unique multidisciplinary backgrounds of an academic, a political scientist, a lawyer and an urban planner to provide the reader with a novel and challenging discussion about the economic nature of land use zoning. Besides establishing a coherent framework for zoning based on the Coasian property rights paradigm, the book offers the reader several up-to-date case studies, including the government role in assigning exclusive property rights via marine fish culture zoning in Hong Kong.

Published by: Hong Kong University Press, HKU

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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List of Photographs

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pp. vii-viii

List of Figures

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pp. ix-xi

List of Tables

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pp. xii-xiii

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Preface and Acknowledgements

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pp. xv-xviii

Zoning is in many countries the cornerstone of land use planning. Through segregating 'incompatible' land uses, integrating 'compatible' land uses and reserving land for community land uses, zoning can be regarded as a means to overcome the problems of the 'externalities' and 'public goods' of an unregulated land market. Such concepts of market failure, which stem from...

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Preface to the Second Edition

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pp. xix

The decision to produce the second edition of this book reflects a growing interest of the professional and academic community in the issue of property rights in town planning. In this edition, care is taken to remove errors discovered and to expand the bibliography. Footnotes are also added so as to elaborate on certain key concepts. Two appendices are added. Appendix One is on...

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1. Introduction

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pp. 1-16

Zoning is well-known as a key instrument in planning regulation which is environmental regulation in its broadest sense. Even planning systems without explicit zoning regulations have implicit elements of zoning which is understood broadly in this book as government delineation and/or restrictions of rights over land within certain spatial...

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2. The Property Rights Nature of Zoning: A Theoretical Framework

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pp. 17-56

This chapter presents an interpretation of zoning in terms of received property rights concepts. Zoning is at the political level given a very broad meaning to encompass all spatial arrangements in a polity. Zoning, as technically understood by town planners and economists, is regarded at the economic level as a means to replace private planning of proprietors in their exercise of private...

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3. Limitations of Coasian Paradigm of Zoning: A Literature Review

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pp. 57-71

There are two competing paradigms of zoning, understood as a kind of government regulatory measure, in terms of economic theorization. Firstly, there is the Pigovian paradigm developed on the basis of Professor Arthur C. Pigou's thesis 'The Economics of Welfare' first published in 1920. Then comes the Coasian paradigm developed mainly on the basis of Ronald...

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4. Initial Assignment of Exclusive Property Rights: The Fish Story

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pp. 73-96

Marine and riparian fish are often evaluated in economic literature as a common or non-exclusive property allocated on a 'first-come-first-served' basis. However, there exists ways to transform marine fish into a private property by means akin to commercial riparian or fresh water fish culture in private lakes, artificial ponds or even paddy fields, as in the case of many Asian...

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5. Subsequent Attenuation of Exclusive Property Rights: Some Empirical Tests

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pp. 97-141

Zoning by contract (as in the case of leaseholds) or legislation (as in the case of Marine Fish Culture Zone) can be a means to establish private property rights and hence constrain rent dissipation in a situation where initial property rights are common or ill-defined. Town planning (zoning) legislation, however, may also attenuate private property rights that are already in...

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6. Conclusion

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pp. 143-156

In tackling the stated research objectives, the present study described in the previous chapters has sought to adopt different approaches of theoretical and professional interest. Firstly, zoning as a key planning tool is interpreted in a property rights framework. Unlike conventional economic analysis of zoning, which is restricted to the property rights attenuation aspects of zoning, the...

Appendix 1: The Use of Aerial Photographs in Planning Enforcement Against Unauthorized Development

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pp. 157-173

Appendix 2: A Technical Note on the Government's Housing Demand Concept Used in the Long-Term Housing Strategy

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pp. 175-181


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pp. 183-187


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pp. 189-206


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pp. 207-222

E-ISBN-13: 9789882203143
Print-ISBN-13: 9789622094055

Page Count: 204
Publication Year: 1996