Regulating Place: Standards and the Shaping of Urban America

By Eran Ben-Joseph; Terry S. Szold | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 15

Substituting Information for Regulation

In Search of an Alternative Approach to Shaping Urban Design

J. MARK SCHUSTER *

My intent in this chapter is not to present research results, nor is it to criticize (or praise) regulation. My intent is to raise two questions: Are there viable alternatives to regulation, and if so, where might we look for models? I will do so by suggesting one place to look.

The standard critique of regulation is made quite clear in other contributions to this volume: Regulation is inefficient, ignoring important market signals as to what is desired by individuals in society in its pursuit of a broader, loosely specified “public interest”; moreover, regulation visits the costs of serving that broad public interest on the few who are regulated-the few pay for the benefit to the many. Some of the authors call for less (or no) regulation; others call for better regulation. Perhaps those who are calling for better regulation are also calling for more regulation-it is a little difficult to tell, although some readers may detect hints of that stance lurking behind arguments that have been more benignly presented.

I wish to propose a different tack.

* I am grateful to Amy Brown, Dan Cohen, Constance Bodurow, and Kitty Hannaford for their invaluable assistance with this project.

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