City Debates 2023: Taming the Growth Machine, The Promises and Pitfalls of Land Value Capture

City Debates 2023: Taming the Growth Machine, The Promises and Pitfalls of Land Value Capture
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.

Dates: March 15 – 17, 2023
Location: Architecture Lecture Hall – Dar al Handasah Architecture Building, Department of Architecture and Design, AUB


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

This event is open to the public and will be live-streamed on Beirut Urban Lab's Facebook page.

The conference will be held in English. If you’re joining us online and need Arabic interpretation, kindly register by emailing [email protected] and ask for a link for simultaneous translation. 

DAY 1 – Wednesday March 15

5:30-6:00PM [Registration & Coffee]

6:00-6:15PM - Opening Session: Locating the Debates 
Alan Shihadeh, MSFEA Dean, American University of Beirut
Mona Fawaz, Professor of Urban Studies and Planning, American University of Beirut

6:15-8:00PM - Keynote #1:
Finding Answers in Land:  Land Policy for Sustainable and Equitable Cities
Enrique Silva, Lincoln Institute for Land Policy
Discussant: Raghda Jaber, Independent Consultant

DAY 2 – Thursday March 16

9:30-11:00AM - Panel 1: Opportunities for Land Value Capture
Using Land Value Capture and Local Area Development Planning to Foster Adequate Housing 
Deena Khalil, American Univeristy of Cairo
Public Value Capture, Climate Change and the Infrastructure Gap in the Context of Development Rights Allocation Processes in Greece
Nikos Karadimitriou, UCL
Climate Value and Land Capture 
Richard Dunning, Liverpool University
Discussant: Petra Samaha, Sciences-Po, Paris

11:00-11:30AM Coffee Break 

11:30AM-1:00PM - Panel 2: Insights from Beirut
Beirut Urban Lab
Public Works Studio

1:00-2:30PM Lunch

2:30-4:30PM - Panel 3: Land Value Capture & Development, Developers
Land Value Challenges in Urban Africa: Creation, Distortion, and Capture 
Tom Goodfellow, University of Sheffield
Land Value Capture, A Good Idea, More Hazardous Path
Sonia Guelton, Parisian School of Urban Planning and Studies
Developer Obligations, Funder Requirements, and Safeguard Challenges in Lebanon
Mona Khechen, American Unviersity of Beirut
Discussant: Elizabeth Saleh, American University of Beirut

4:30-5:00PM Coffee Break

5:00-7:00PM - Keynote #2
No Future?  Banking on Future Land Values During Uncertain Times
Rachel Weber, University of Illinois at Chicago
Discussants: Camillo Boano, Politecnico di Torino and UCL, Bartlett; Nada Moumtaz, University of Toronto 

DAY 3 – Friday March 17

9:30-11:00AM - Panel 4: Housing and Value Capture 
The Housing Global Crisis Experienced from Chile: Political and Academic Challenges
Francisco Sabatini, Universidad del Bío-Bío
The Impact of Taxing Vacancy on Housing Markets: Evidence from France
Mariona Segú, CY Cergy Paris University
Questioning Public Value Capture in Inner City Renewal, Current Practices in Istanbul
Şevkiye Şence Türk, Istanbul Technical University
Discussant: Jad Tabet, American University of Beirut

11:00-11:30AM Coffee Break

11:30AM-1:00PM - Panel 5: Making It Happen
Recouping the Value: Land Value Capture and Urban Planning in Jordan
Astrid Haas, Independent Urban Economist
Introducing LVC Tools in Egypt and the MENA Region, Recent Experiences
Mohamad Nada, World Bank
The Role of Land Value Capture in Financing Inclusive Cities: Civil Society Experiences of Institutionalizing LVC in South Africa
Helen Rourke, Development Action Group, South Africa
Claudia Hitzeroth, Development Action Group, South Africa
Discussant: Sami Atallah, The Policy Initiative

1:00-2:30PM Lunch

2:30-4:00PM - Roundtable and Wrap Up
Traveling Lessons, Circulating Ideas, Learning from Other Contexts
Moderator: Mona Harb, American University of Beirut

Conference Framing and Rationale

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.