Joint Hutton-University PhD studentship on the economic impacts of land use planning

Joint Hutton-University PhD studentship on the economic impacts of land use planning

The aim of the PhD is to increase understanding of the extent to which anticipated land use planning decisions impact residential property values.

Land use planning has (sometimes unintended) impacts on land and property values (Bramely, 1998; Adams and Watkins, 2002; Leishman & Bramley, 2005). Most empirical analyses of the impacts of planning have focused on comparative cross-sectional studies of housing markets and have made only limited use of spatial data. In contrast, the proposed project will be based on a longitudinal analysis of how the nature of the planning process results in anticipated effects within real estate markets, where impacts are complicated by uncertainty in planning outcomes. Empirical analysis will focus on the North East Scotland housing market and planned or actual changes in infrastructure over a number of years. Two case studies will be considered:

(i) The Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route (AWPR). This is a major infrastructure development planned for the outskirts of Aberdeen City, a version of which was first proposed in the early 1970s, revived in the 1990s, but only finally approved in its current route in late 2012.
(ii) Onshore wind farm developments. There has been a large increase in windfarms granted planning permission or installed in Aberdeenshire over the last 15 years, with more proposed.

The study will require combining a range of data from a variety of sources. A key element of the project will involve the management and analysis of databases with spatial attributes. A unique dataset of residential property transactions in North East Scotland, from 1984 to date, will be made available through a longstanding collaboration between the Real Estate Department at the Aberdeen University and the Aberdeen Solicitors Property Centre (ASPC). While it is difficult to assess accurately the market coverage, the ASPC claims to cover 95% of all properties in the region (ASPC, 2012). The dataset includes over 150,000 transactions, information on the location of the property, the asking price and, if sold, final sales price, the dates that a property was listed and taken off the market (either due to a sale or being withdrawn), and several physical attributes of the property including. Spatial analysis tools will be used to derive values for variables to be used in tests of the significance of infrastructure change on property values and prices. Such variables will include direct distance (to the proposed developments as well as to key services, natural amenities etc), visibility (e.g. of turbines or transport infrastructure), and in relation to the impacts of the AWPR, analysis will include estimating changes in route length and commuting times arising from each property to the Aberdeen city centre as this is known to be a determinant of property values.

In terms of methodology the “generalised before and after evaluation approach” proposed by McDonald and Osuji (1995) will form the base framework for the analysis.

To apply for this studentship please send your CV and a covering letter to the James Hutton Institute's postgraduate administrator, Laura Logie (laura.logie@hutton.ac.uk) by 2nd January 2015.


Funding Notes:

The studentship is jointly funded by the Macaulay Development Trust and the University of Aberdeem. This PhD will be registered at the University of Aberdeen and Dr. Rainer Schultz of the Institute of the department of Accounting, Finance and Real Estate will be the primary University Supervisor.

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