Property Rights in Place-Remaking: Community, State and Market in the Redevelopment of Singapore's Chinatown
||Zhu, Jieming; Loo-Lee Sim and Xuan Liu
||Property Rights in Place-Remaking: Community, State and Market in the Redevelopment of Singapore's Chinatown
||Book of Abstracts: 2005 European Real Estate Society conference in association with the International Real Estate Society
||Studies have shown that the land market is heavily structured by institutions. Real estate individuals and organizations behave and perform within a framework defined by institutions, which are regarded as a matrix of formal and informal rules of the game in a society (North, 1990). In a market economy, activities in the land market by autonomous firms and individuals are coordinated through prices, but functioning of the land market depends on a whole set of institutional conditions. However, the subject of land transactions is not the land per se, but essentially the interest in rights over the land. The structure of property rights therefore influence the performance of land markets. Placing limits on the action of individuals and governments, assignment of property rights is thus crucial for the achievement of efficiency (Paul, Miller & Paul, 1994). A supportive system of property rights is imperative for development efficiency and growth of the real estate market. From the perspective of institutional analysis, this paper evaluates the place-remaking process of Chinatown in Singapore. It is found that redevelopment of Chinatown since the 1960s has been substantively structured by the property rights system over land and buildings. As property rights are defined by the state in the forms of statutory land use planning, compulsory land acquisition, rent control, land leasing and conservation of historical buildings, the free market of land redevelopment is reined in heavily by the government. The local community used to play a significant role in the shaping of Chinatown before 1960. Since the 1960s, the role of the community has been fading out from the scene, and the redevelopment of Chinatown is the result of interaction between the state and the market, mediated by the property rights regime.
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