Dr. Nicholas Falk publishes ‘Making Fairer Places: A Think Piece on Land Values’ to UK2070 Commission

By 19 February 2019 February 25th, 2019 Think Piece

The UK2070 Commission has today published a submission received through our Call For Evidence – Making Fairer Places: A Think Piece on Land Values – written by Dr. Nicholas Falk, Executive Director of the URBED Trust and co-winner of the 2014 Wolfson Economics Prize.

Dr. Falk’s paper seeks to discuss how the UK overcomes spatial inequalities by discussing both what presently works for other countries internationally, and also what has worked for the United Kingdom in the past. Dr. Falk describes his two other main aims as:

  • To explain why harnessing land values is crucial to creating a more effective, equitable and efficient UK, and rebalancing our cities.
  • To propose how progress could be achieved in stages, starting where it will be easiest before making more fundamental changes that may take longer.

Among a variety of other recommendations, Dr. Falk proposes that a first step in mobilising private and public investment to help in tackling spatial inequalities would be to review the property tax system, with the aim of implementing a new system on the 30th anniversary of the last revaluation of domestic rates in 1991. With this process presently being undertaken in Scotland, Dr. Falk writes that applying this change throughout the country may go a long way to reducing the lack of affordable housing and to diminish unfilled gaps in transport and energy infrastructure; adding that it may also give young people more of a stake in society by reducing inter-generational inequities.

Dr Falk also writes of seven ‘ideas proposals’ which local authorities could seek to apply, centred on: Spatial Growth Plans; a better model for land assembly; growth bonds; establishing Community Development Corporations, Community Land Trusts or Local Infrastructure Finance Trusts; the creation of a Ground Value Rating and a Municipal Investment Corporation; and the promotion of community or cooperative banks. To read about each of these and much more, click here to read Dr. Falk’s full report:


Dr Nicholas Falk, BA MBA Hon FRIBA Hon MRTPI is an economist, urbanist and strategic planner. He founded the consultancy URBED in 1976, which now specialises in masterplanning and urban design from their office in Manchester. He is currently Executive Director of The URBED Trust, and was co-winner of the 2014 Wolfson Economics Prize for showing how to build garden cities that are visionary, viable and popular.

His most recent commission has been to advise the Greater London Authority Deputy Mayor for Housing on international good practice published as Capital Gains: a better land assembly model for London.

Under The URBED Trust (urban and economic development), he is leading an innovative sustainable-housing project in India. In the last few years his work and interests has focused on new communities, the future of the suburbs, historic centres, and the adaptive reuse of old buildings. He has recently been advising on an urban extension to Oxford, and previously produced the Cambridgeshire Quality Charter for Growth.

He teaches the Economics of Regeneration and Reuse at New York University in London, and is a Visiting Professor at the School of the Built Environment, University of the West of England. He is a member of the Town and Country Planning Association’s Policy Advisory Council, an Academician of the Academy of Urbanism, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. He lives in Stroud and London.