Rules for Changing Rules – Romer on

Posted on August 7, 2009


I came across this presentation Paul Romer, Stanford economist (and a former employer). He discusses the idea of creating “Charter Cities” in developing countries that would enable the local population to choose migration and participation in the Charter City while providing a motive of profit for international firms to set up shop.
Using Hong Kong and Singapore as successful examples, it’s important to consider cities like Brasilia that have not been so fortuate. During my time in Kazakhstan, I frequently visited Astana, the new capital city under development there and worked on an urban planning project that examined educational resources, infrastructure, and growth planning.
This is where the “rules for changing rules” becomes vital to the success of the Charter City Romer is proposing. When left to isolated government bureaucrats unwilling or unable to grasp the necessary conditions for economic growth, these Charter Cities will assuredly fail. But, if we can reach a level of true ideological understanding and implement proven theories of city and urban planning, there is certainly promise for this concept.