Land Markets


  • Detroit – low value, (Cleveland) – can pay market value for land for urban ag and it works — great opportunity for for-profit growers
  • Chicago – mixed value depending on neighborhood: nonprofits in high cost neighborhoods, for-profit growers on South Side
  • High value markets – must find land at below market pricing — favors nonprofit producers
  • WANT TO PERMANENTLY PROTECT IN ALL MARKETS — even in counter-intuitive moment where land is plentiful and no/low cost
  • Chicago illustrates just about every issue you encounter
         – expensive land – urban ag in hyper inflated markets
         – cheap land
         – race/class
         – thorny politics — turf issues
         – pop-up gardens (NE Illinois University tennis courts – Peterson Garden Project) – explicit short term focus

2 thoughts on “Land Markets

  1. gregorylaird Post author

    STEVE’S FEEDBACK: gentrification – trajectory of land values over time. Detroit’s situation with Hatz (sp) Farm — rich white investors claiming they are doing good — residents view as locking up land while cheap.

    NATE: ties to race and place — the fact that other land around it isn’t protected means that people eventually benefited are not the current neighborhood residents. So need to think broader about protecting land — to include affordable housing, etc. — Troy Gardens model.

  2. Nate

    I agree that some differentiation btw high and low value is analytically useful, and good to recognize patchiness, not just in Chicago but also to an extent in Philly, Cleveland, even in Detroit where the stuff next to where hipsters are moving in most intensely is high value relative to much of the rest of the city. Who knows, maybe there are even relatively low-value (brownfield?) areas of places like Portland, Seattle, Oakland, NYC…

    The direction that some places are moving — both high value (like San Fran and Santa Clara) and low value (Baltimore, KC) — is to protect land for ag use for 5-25 years by giving tax break to owner so long as owner keeps in used for the amount of time required by statute. This gives the appearance of “long term” protection of ag land use (at least when 5 or 10 years feels long for a grower, and 25 is an eternity) but in actuality it’s not perpetually protected. From a Georgist point of view, that might actually be a good thing — reducing tax on land value temporarily to get development going again may be better than permanently saying that what may someday become prime high-value land will be dedicated to some low-intensity/density use. Whether the farmer who just wants secure low cost land and has a time horizon of 10 years really cares about the Georgist perspective or about the difference between 5 and 10 and 99, though, I dunno…

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