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Notes on the New Urban Economics


  • Edwin S. Mills
  • James MacKinnon


Since about 1970, ten or twenty papers have been written making use of control theory or programming to analyze optimum or market equilibrium urban land use. The purpose of these notes is to survey and evaluate this new approach to urban economics. Most contributions to the new urban economics assume that employment is concentrated at the urban center, but that housing production functions permit the amount of housing per unit of land to vary with economic conditions. An optimum or equilibrium pattern of housing density is deduced as a function of distance from the center. All contributions include assumptions about the urban transportation system, and some have congestions built into the model. The last part of the paper is a discussion of discrete and continuous representation of urban space. The two possibilities lead to different mathematical representations, and we suggest that discrete representations may be more useful for many purposes.

Suggested Citation

  • Edwin S. Mills & James MacKinnon, 1973. "Notes on the New Urban Economics," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 4(2), pages 593-601, Autumn.
  • Handle: RePEc:rje:bellje:v:4:y:1973:i:autumn:p:593-601

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    Cited by:

    1. Raouf BOUCEKKINE & Giorgio FABBRI & Salvatore FEDERICO & Fausto GOZZI, 2017. "Growth and Agglomeration in the Heterogeneous Space: A Generalized AK Approach," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 2017006, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
    2. Bryan Ellickson, 1981. "Indivisibility, Housing and Public Goods," UCLA Economics Working Papers 205, UCLA Department of Economics.

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