Alain Bertaud is an urbanist and a senior research scholar at the NYU Marron Institute of Urban Management. He is the author of a book about urban planning that is titled Order Without Design: How Markets Shape Cities. He has worked as an urban planner in a multitude of cities around the world.

Today, we talk about his view of a city and what he’s observed as an urban planner. He gives us examples and draws connections between how culture and regulation shape cities — he means literally; cities shaped by regulation are shaped like donuts. We discuss the problems with central planning from old Soviet cities to today’s urban sprawl caused by zoning regulation. He explains how being a “free market urban planner” is not a contradiction and shares personal stories about how he came to this career.

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