Saturday, 17 September 2016

A note on Slovakian planning...

I've written about Slovakian planning before (a niche subject I know) but this is a reminder that when you've few land use planning controls stuff gets built pretty quickly:

Recently, I returned to Slovakia. One day, while driving through the capital of Bratislava, I noticed a brand new suburb that covered a hill that was barren a mere two years before. The sprawling development of modern and beautiful houses came with excellent roads and a large supermarket. It provided a home, privacy, and safety for hundreds of families.

How was it possible for a private company to plan, build, and sell an entire suburb in less than two years, but impossible for a communist central planner to build one small building in almost a decade?

The article's actually a cautionary tale for young people explaining the evils of communism. But for me this paragraph stood out because there's no way that you'd get a new suburb built in the UK within two years from scratch including roads, buses, supermarkets and schools. Perhaps we need to learn some lessons in liberty from the now free Slovaks?

The clue, after all, lies in that word 'planning'. And it's the main reason housing markets don't work properly.


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