Land Use and Land Value Theory of William Alonso

William Alonso (Location and Land Use: Toward a General Theory of Land Rent, 1964) attempted to apply accessibility requirements to the city centre for various types of land use (housing, commercial, and industry). According to his theory, each land use type has its own rent gradient or bid rent curve. The curve sets the maximum amount of rent any land use type will yield for a specific location. Households, commercial establishments, and industries compete for locations according to each individual bid rent curve and their requirements for access to the city centre. 

All households will attempt to occupy as much land as possible while staying within their accessibility requirements. Since land is cheaper at the fringe of the city, households with less need for city centre accessibility will locate near the fringe; these will usually be wealthy households. Poor households require greater accessibility to the city centre and therefore will locate near the centre, competing with commercial and industrial establishments. This will tend to create a segregated land use system, because households will not pay commercial and industrial land prices for central locations In 1960 William Alonso completed his dissertation which extended the von Th√ľnen model to urban land uses. His model gives land use, rent, intensity of land use, population and employment as a function of distance to the CBD of the city as a solution of an economic equilibrium for the market for space.

                                                                                  Bid rent curve

Land Value 

Land value can be defined as the monetary cost of the land. It can be the cost of undeveloped land or a built property, but land value is primarily associated with a vacant plot. When discussing the importance of a built structure the term “property value” is more appropriate. 

Factors Affecting Land Value 

The land value is determined by the economic principle of highest and best use of land which produces the highest net return in any term, over a period. The property value is dependent on the structural attributes, land rates, land use and the location of the land. It is determined by the specific character of the land such as land use, location, accessibility, aesthetics, etc 

1) Physical Attributes 

These include quality of location, topography, climate, availability of water, sewer lines, etc. More and better facilities are attributed to a higher price of land. Topography further has a direct effect on the construction cost and thus the overall development cost. The facilities thus developed on an uneven land will have a much higher cost as compared to the flat plain. 

2) Accessibility to Economic Activities 

The more easily economic activity is accessible, the more is the value of the land. For example, most of the metropolitan cities have the maximum land values at the center, or at the central business district of the city. This is because of the nearness to the economic activities and workplace. This factor affecting land value is the sole most important factor which led to the development of various land price models in urban economics. 

3) Neighborhood Amenities 

The cost of land is also affected by the availability of the facilities such as shopping areas, medical facilities, school, parks& playgrounds, and other basic need of the humans. This helps in saving the time of people every day, the time saved adds up the cost of land. Also, the reduced travel and reduced trip distance will directly have the monetary benefits of the person residing in an area with many such facilities in proximity. 

4) Present and Future Land Use 

The value of the land is also determined by the land use permitted in the land premises. For example, if we compare the values of two lands of same prices and same location but the land use permitted in the lands are different, one is commercial and one is residential. In such case the value of the land with the land use which has more rate of return over a period of time will be valued more. People are willing to pay a higher amount for commercial land, in some cases industrial or institutional land use might attract even. 

5) Demand and Supply Function 

With the significant demographic changes in the cities with time, the need for land also increases with the same factor, with the increase in population there is an increase in economic and other activities. This directly increases the demand in the of the land components. The anticipation of high yields may also induce false scarcity of land; hence the location advantages of the properties at any time within the urban boundaries and hence causes economic values of land to be increased. For any site, there are specific points of transition in use, closely related to the infrastructure and services, where a jump in property value is likely to happen.

6) Location and Transport Linkages 

The property located in the area of high level of infrastructure facilities or the one located in or adjacent to the area of intensive economic activities such as markets or industries have higher values. Transport linkages are also crucial since they govern the mobility and ease of movement to and from the area. Clearly defined hierarchy of roads, efficient public transportation and lack of congestion are some of the desired transportation attributes of any area. 

Residential land values are also observed to be in direct proportion to the hierarchical order of the adjacent road. The valuation of land is done keeping in mind the factor mentioned above; however, the actual selling price of an area is ultimately determined by the paying capacity of the buyer. All the factors mentioned above-affecting land value might give a price which no one is willing to pay, and thus the actual amount paid becomes the price instead of the evaluated price. 

Land Use 

Land use involves the management and modification of natural environment or wilderness into built environment such as settlements and semi-natural habitats such as arable fields, pastures, and managed woods. 

  • Residential land use 
  • Commercial land use 
  • Industrial land use 
  • Agricultural land use 
  • Recreational land use 
  • Transport space 
  • Public land use or Open space



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