Property market and urban economic development : an institutional economics approach
This thesis examines the relationship between the property market and urban economic development. The impetus for the research lies in the rapid process of urban economic change and the failure of economic approaches to explore adequately the important role of the property market in that process. The study draws on institutional economics to advance the argument that the property market as an institution is a mediator through which economic potential can be realised and served. Due to major philosophical and theoretical deficiencies in the area, focus is placed on the establishment of an appropriate philosophical framework, the development of a new theory, and the specification of a research design for empirical investigation of the issues. The thesis's foremost contribution therefore lies in the formation of a holistic research programme to conceptualise the property market as an institution and to explore its role within the urban economy. Critical realist principles provide the basis for the development of the philosophical position of the study. These are combined with institutionalist insights to construct a three-layer ontological framework discussing the nature of urban socioeconomy. The thesis then lays down a rich theory of urban economic organisation, placing explicit emphasis on the institutional mechanisms, processes and dynamics through which the built environment is provided. The interrelation between property market process and the wider institutional environment is explored, particularly in terms of efficiency in providing appropriate market institutions and property outcomes that support urban economic potential. From this discussion the institutionalist concept of 'property market purpose efficiency' is developed. Building upon the conceptual framework, the thesis explicitly addresses the requirements for concrete analysis. It, first, lays down a generic analytical approach specifying appropriate research methods and techniques for investigation, and, second, sets up a research design providing an operational frame in which developed theory is translated into empirical practice. This research design provides a blueprint for empirical case studies. Finally, a case study of Madrid is employed to empirically explore the research design.