Political Economy Model in Urban Planning

Political Economy Model in Urban Planning

Political Economy Model aims at unearthing the power relations in and among different institutions. It studies the economic aspects of the government. It analyses the relation between impact of political actions such as policies and programmes on economics and the pure theory of economics which aims at studying the inter-relationships between the different economic factors.

Theory of economics can be studied as two types of theories:

  1. The Positive Theory: positive with respect to the capitalist system. This theory dose not analyse the desirability of the impacts of different economic activities. This theory can be further sub divided into 2 components
    1. the price theory: it analyses the behaviors of individuals or groups for. ex. consumers, producers and also phenomena such as pricing, output, distribution etc.
    2. the National income theory concerned with the national income and employment of the entire country. E.g. theories regarding how to generate national income.
  2. The Welfare Theory: This theory is concerned with how wealth is distributed in the society.

Relevance of the Political Economy Model in Urban Planning


Political Economic model has a great relevance in the field of Urban Planning. Views of various authors and scholars are provided below.

Political Economy Model
Political Economy Model
  1. According to Harvey,in the political economy model  the most important function of the built environment is to facilitate production, circulation, consumption and exchange. The built environment refers to housing, roads, communication networks etc. the role of the planner is to ensure the proper maintenance and management of these activities.
  2. the society gives utmost importance to those activities which have the capability of reproducing themselves.
    • The society is built on a capitalist system in which based on market exchange and private property, social relations are reproduced by two methods: sustainability or perpetuation. Social relations refer to the relations between the state, labor and the capital.
    • The city is viewed as a workshop of industrial civilization. It is the nerve center of economy, political and socio-cultural life. It is the center of exchange, communication and a good life.

3. The  state plays the role of crises manager by stabilizing the otherwise erratic economy and social system.

  • It contains internal strife and factionalism by repression, integration or cooperation.
  • It tries to create conditions for the smooth accumulation of wealth.
  1. As per Political Economy Model, capital can be subdivided into manufacturing, money etc. and labor can be divided on the basis of their wage rate. The different classes in the society view the built environment differently.
  • The labour view it as a means of consumption and also for its own reproduction and expansion.
  • The wage earners are very sensitive to the costs and spatial dispositions ( access) of the facilities of the built environment; such as housing, health, education, recreational facilities for its survival and reproduction at any given standard of living.
  • The capital views the collectively provided and used infrastructure is seen as a means of enhancing its production, circulation and exchange activities.
  • the construction of the built environment itself expands the market for the producers who get an opportunity to sell their goods, such as steel and services; such as administrative, legal. Hence, the demand for the produce of the capitalists themselves increases.
  1. The construction capital seeks returns on its capital by adding new elements to the built environment which should be introduced by examining the technical, ecological and political organisations of the construction interests.
  • The landowners who by virtue of their ownership of land and property, extract rents from the use of these resources.
  • On occasions, the built environment may become a dumping ground for the surplus money capital which can result in periodic bouts of overproduction resulting in the fall in the value of the assets which are embedded in the built environment.

Read about: Advocacy Planning Concept, Rational Planning ModelCollaborative Planning Theory

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