Introduction: Theories of Residential Location

  • Alan W. Evans


Until recently, urban problems in Britain have generally been neglected by economists. On the face of it this is odd, for one would expect that the twentieth-century enthusiasm for town planning would have acted as a catalyst for studies in urban economics. Little resulted, however, largely because the view of the British town planner was that urban problems arose through the unfettered operation of the market and that they would be solved when the allocation of land uses was completely in the hands of the town planner. In the view of Sir Patrick Abercrombie, ‘mankind might well be divided into two groups, in regard to their surroundings: those who instinctively set about shaping their environment and those who are content to accept the state of things as it exists’ (Abercrombie, 1959, p. 9). Economists are put firmly in the second group, town planners in the first. Abercrombie regards the economist as ‘muddler who will talk about the Law of Supply and Demand and the liberty of the individual’ (p. 27). Urban problems, then, were seen as planning problems, and the economist was not thought to have any useful contributions to make in the search for solutions.


Income Group Urban Land Residential Location Central Business District Urban Economic 
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Copyright information

© Alan W. Evans 1973

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alan W. Evans
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for Environmental StudiesLondonUK

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