Broken City

Land Speculation, Inequality, and Urban Crisis

Table of contents



1 Inequality, Disease, and Urban Land

2 The Economics of Urban Land Value

3 Henry George and His Relevance Today

4 Land Rent, Urban Sprawl, and Transport

5 Attempts to Provide Afordable Housing

6 The Vienna Model and Its Relevance Today

7 Policy Solutions and the Quest for Afordable Housing

8 City-Wide Zoning Approaches and a Modern Tax on Rent


Notes; References; Index


How can urban housing, and the land underneath, now account for half of all global wealth? According to Patrick Condon, the simple answer is that land has become an asset rather than a utility. If the rich only indulged themselves with gold, jewels, and art, we wouldn’t have a global housing crisis. But once global capital markets realized land was a good speculative investment, runaway housing costs ensued. In just one city, Vancouver, land prices increased by 600 percent between 2008 and 2016. How much wealth have investors extracted from urban land? In this engaging, readable, and clearly reasoned treatise, Patrick Condon explains how we have let land, our most durable resource, shift away from the common good – and proposes bold strategies that cities in North America could use to shift it back.