Urban Planning interventions on a grand scale are the most noticeable way of changing the face of a city and the quality of living for its inhabitants.
Not policies, though urban planning depends greatly on politics. Nor the internal economics of the city, however influential. The Urban Design ventures are the ones that change the city. Urban design, at least from the population’s perspective, is the best way to bring an answer to the recurrent question: Where is our tax money going? Because it’s right there in front of their eyes.
And it is in this psychology of the citizens, towards the development of the city in which one lives, where the relation between the implementation of the Bus Rapid Transit System (BRT) , Metrobus in the case of Buenos Aires, Argentina, and Real Estate Appraisal lies.
Recently at the Observatory of Urban Sustainability, from Belgrano University, an extensive study was dedicated towards investigating the implementation of Bus Rapid Transit on Juan B. Justo Avenue. This area has been greatly influenced by gentrification; with improved services (hospitals, museums, and more) and new high class real estate projects.
The result of the study, based on the real estate listings of the famed newspaper ‘Clarín,’ showed that the appraisal or the square meter value was, on average, $2,000 to $6,000 per square meter. The study also discovered that many of these new prices where the product of speculation, as many of these projects were started simultaneously with the BRT station construction and finished before the full corridor was even functioning! So, it can be concluded that people are indeed influenced when they see that something new, in terms of urban design is being done, and are willing to pay - or sell - at these heightened new prices.
Yes, Latin American cities should improve the design of their built environment, but should this bring a massive gentrification and force people with less resources to move to the peripheries? Similar to what happened in many European cities? Do we want that for Latin America?
Credits: Data linked to sources. Images provided by the author.