Jan. 17, 2023

661: Cities of the Future - How Market Urbanism is Transforming Cities Worldwide

Discover how @marketurbanist is revolutionizing cities worldwide and learn about real-life examples of "startup cities" in this episode of The Brian Nichols Show!

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Are you tired of living in a city that doesn't work for you? Are you ready to learn about a new approach to urbanism that combinesfree market principles and innovative solutions

Look no further! In this episode of The Brian Nichols Show, we dive deep into the topic of market urbanism and its potential to revolutionize the way cities function. 

Our guest, Scott Beyer, is a leading expert in the field and will explain how market urbanism can address issues like housing, transportation, and city administration. He'll also share real-life examples of "startup cities" and how they're being implemented around the world. Don't miss this opportunity to hear from an industry leader and learn about a new approach that can improve your city and your life! 

And don't forget to check out episode 428 for a closer look at Próspera; a prime example of market urbanism in action! ➡ https://www.briannicholsshow.com/428-prospera-the-most-libertarian-business-and-living-environment-in-the-world-with-joel-bomgar/

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Brian Nichols  0:11  
It's 2023. Do we still need cities? Yeah, let's talk about that. Instead of focusing on winning arguments, we're teaching the basic fundamentals of sales and marketing and how we can use them to win in the world of politics, teaching you how to meet people where they're at on the issues they care about. Welcome to The Brian Nichols Show. Well, happy Monday, Monday, Tuesday, happy Tuesday. They're trying to return The Brian Nichols Show. Thank you for joining us, of course, another fun filled episode. I am as always your humble Oh, where do you live from our Stratus ip studios, here in lovely Eastern Indiana, don't let cyber attacks or outdated Business Technology put your company at risk? Yeah, I thought it was Monday because as you can tell, my brain is still in cybersecurity mode. I had like 15 million meetings that seems like today in the world of cybersecurity and business continuity. So you want to learn more, head to the Brian Nichols show.com, forward slash Stratus ip and I can show you how we can help you out with your business technology today. But enough of that, let's go ahead and talk about Yes, the question. I teased at the beginning of the episode, it's 2023. Do we in fact, need cities or at least the idea of big cities and I say that as someone who I just moved from Philadelphia, PA, and I got out of there to the Midwest, I escaped to a small, a small ish little city out in the eastern part of Indiana. And I gotta tell you, I'm feeling pretty darn happy. And I see folks who are in the big cities, and they don't seem that they're doing too hot. So to talk about that today, joining us from the market urbanism report, Scott Baier, welcome back to The Brian Nichols Show. Thank you. Absolutely, my friend, thank you for returning to the program, and obviously talking about all things cities, and how we can improve them. But Scott, before we get there, let's go ahead and reintroduce yourself to The Brian Nichols Show audience and specifically, what's your approach when we're talking about these big giant areas that we call cities?

Scott Beyer  2:05  
Yeah, so I'm Scott buyer, I own the market urbanism reports. And I'm a I'm a, which is a media company that's dedicated to free market urban policy reform. I'm also somewhat of a journalist, or you might say, a urban policy analyst who writes for different publications in the United States. To Yeah, so to answer your question, do we need cities just just to get right into that? You know, I'm currently on a cross global trip, which, which we can get into later on. But I think that to me, the answer is kind of multi faceted, depending on whether we're talking about the United States, or like, say, the developing world where I am right now. In the US, I think, you might argue that we don't need cities, although I personally like them. And that's why I write about them. But I'd say with with the rise of the automobile and remote work, and, you know, satellite internet, and eventually, we're supposed to have drone delivery from Amazon and things like that. I would say like the world couldn't be, or at least the world of the US and the advanced world where people have more money to live more far further apart. Yeah, it might be the technology is erasing distance, and we don't need we don't have a need to centralize anymore, or at least as much. But then, I think the angle when you're talking about the developing world, like what I'm finding, having traveled through Latin America, and one of Africa now is that they don't have because they're not as wealthy of societies, their rural areas are not very modernized, like you're often not having running water and basic sanitation and basic you know, killing off dangerous insects, you you don't have that. So people have to they actually have for the sake of their livelihoods to move into cities where the jobs and the in the social services are. So you're, you're kind of seeing like a reverse migration of what we see usually see in the US, which is that people are moving from rural areas into cities and suburbs to be able to access stuff.

Brian Nichols  4:22  
Interesting. Yeah, cuz I guess Yeah, right. It is, through the context of us privileged Americans. Because yeah, I mean, do you really need the idea of a big city in order to get the opportunity or the amenities or the basics that we have established, as you know, the basics here in America? And that point, no, but I guess to the question, then I asked for those other areas, right. You're talking about being in South Africa, for example. Is it possible that the the tools the resources that we utilize here in America and in more of the developed world, that those rules that allow us to live in more rural environments that those could then be brought over to those more impoverished areas. Let's look at the areas like you're talking about with like South Africa, for example, and to help folks be able to have clean drinking water or to have more protective shelter when they're living out in the elements or in the insect infested areas. Is that something that we could see as also a correlation there? Well, we

Scott Beyer  5:25  
could, and to some degree, it's already happening. I mean, one thing I'm going to be studying here in Africa, as I travel through is the way that first world American farm techniques are being brought to Africa, to maximize the use of what is often very fertile land that they just can't maximize, because they don't have the technology to do it. And so that would be an example of you want to talk about rural modernization and making rural living more attractive and sustainable in Africa, then you bring in tech first world technology. But I mean, again, it's sort of like, we're looking at a gradient here of, if the US is an example of one of the most wealthy societies in the world, and in world history, there's a gradient where the poor and poor the country gets, the more and more cities actually are necessary, because it's just, yeah, I mean, I mean, remote and in in, I guess, you could say, decentralized living is kind of a luxury for rich people. You know, like I said, you do need an automobile. And so in the US, we're rich, and we can afford to live that lifestyle.

Brian Nichols  6:44  
So let's talk about the future then of what you're experiencing, and trying to uncover as you're going across the south part of the globe. And that's quite literally a southern hemisphere that you're going through. So talk to us about this trip that you're on what you're looking to accomplish as you're going through there.

Scott Beyer  6:59  
Yeah, so I'm on a 1.5 year trip of the global cells. And that began in July of 2022. My first five months were Latin America, I went to 12 countries in Latin America, and then 2023, half of it will be in Africa. So I'm in South Africa now. And I'm gonna be moving my way north. And then the final six months of 2023 will be Asia. So starting in Dubai, indeed, in Tokyo, and then flying back to Virginia and starting kind of restarting my life in the US.

Brian Nichols  7:32  
So what inspired that entire trip?

Scott Beyer  7:37  
Well, I'd say it's probably three things. The the main one is just that I like to travel. And this seemed like a good time in my life to be able to do it. I'd say secondary would be journalism, you know, wanting to expand on the coverage, that market urbanism report, which is mostly focused on US cities, and its young history, maybe expanding to some global issues, more urban issues. And then I think, thirdly, would just be from an investing standpoint, you know, you can, you could probably see the writing on the wall, the same as AI, where certain economic funnel fundamentals of the US are not so great. And respected debt and inflation and, and so I think it's good to have a diversified portfolio that includes potentially emerging markets. And so this, this little tour through the Global South is like, looking for specific, let's say genres and companies that might be worth me investing in to diversify my portfolio.

Brian Nichols  8:43  
Yeah, good buddy of the show here, McHale, Thorpe, he is the host of the expat money show. And he's all about how do you get out of the United States become an expatriate? How do you focus on to invest in the alternatives that are out there versus what we've grown up to think is the only solution that is here in America? So with that being said, I mean, obviously, this is definitely I think, where a lot of folks heads are and also we're seeing inside the United States, the conversation of a national divorce, and I hear other folks talking about the idea of a civil war. I don't want that. Nobody wants that. But let's talk about maybe the idea, though, of a national divorce, because I think we're hearing actually folks on both sides of the political aisle talking about this. Do you see the idea of a national divorce, impacting marker urbanism as things move forward?

Scott Beyer  9:33  
Well, that kind of overlaps with where my head is going on some of the urban stuff. I've increasingly come to believe that the rise of city states like you know, when you think of Dubai and Singapore, those have been very successful examples and it shows that bigger isn't necessarily better when it comes to government. I mean, a lot of the most effective jurisdictions in the world are these little like 50 square mile cities. states where they just have huge amounts of economic freedom, basically. And they have they have autonomy just to run the way they want to. And I'd really like to see that experiment in the US. I mean, I, I'm not necessarily opposed to the US being broken up in some respects and like, let's have some experimentation, about what about what kind of political systems we can pursue in the US. So that seems like a, like a more practical way to have more experimentation, as opposed to like a scorched earth. Texas succeeds completely, and everybody hates each other. And that kind of thing. It seems like it would lead to less bloodshed.

Brian Nichols  10:44  
Yeah, for sure. And that's what we're looking to accomplish right is as much peace as is a possible outcome. I think that's across the board. But let's go towards this idea of market urbanism. I think it's important for some of the folks who maybe are returning to the show, or rather, they're joining us for the first time as you return to the show. They're not familiar with this idea of market urbanism. They've heard us talk about it a few times, and they're like, What is this term? So in layman's terms, do us a favor, Scott, explain what is market urbanism? And how does it impact the way that cities function?

Scott Beyer  11:16  
So bumper sticker version, the mix between free market policy and urban issues? A more elaborated version would be, it's the use of classical liberal ideas in economics, applied specifically to city issues. So how did the teachings of Adam Smith, Frederick Hayek, and some other thinkers apply to things like housing, transportation, city administration, there's two specific versions of market urbanism that that I focus on in market urbanism report. And the first one is kinda like, how can this theory be used? How can this policy be used in a pragmatic way in existing cities like New York and Philadelphia? Like, what's a moderate version of this, of like, say, libertarian ideas that can pass politically in places that are otherwise like democratic voting and, and, and leftist? But I think the other version of market urbanism, that's more of the theory is just asking, like at a philosophical level, so how would cities work if they were completely private? And rather than having like roll democracy, and some of the things we we lionize about politics in this country? What if What if a board of investors say ran a city? And what if they operated like startups? So that's more of a theoretical interpreted interpretation of market urbanism? Because it's not used very often around the world. But I am actually studying some of these some of these examples as I travel.

Brian Nichols  12:52  
Do you have some examples off the top of your head of Mark urbanism in practice that we can think of as some modern day examples?

Scott Beyer  13:02  
Well, yeah, I mean, so the types of places like I'm a lot of this tour is designed to to see, quote, unquote, startup cities around the world. And so what that is, is basically private developers will assemble Greenfield land, it is happening in a lot more in the developing world than in say, the US and Europe. But they assembled Greenfield lands, they write a contract with the surrounding jurisdiction, basically saying, We want autonomy to to build the city the way we want. And it is in fact built on private sector principles. Like it's for profit, it's it's run by a CEO rather than an elected mayor and manager. And so it is very much of a private sector outcome. I think like if you want if you want an example of one type of city that I've gone to see it's um, there's there's one called prosper prosper in Honduras. And I think your followers would be really interested in that because it's, it's been branded to some degree or another as kind of like a libertarian experiments taking place in the third world country. And it's going to have like English common law in all of these, all of these policy. I don't know if you want to say innovations, but policy best practices being used in a very small like one square mile context. Well, Scott,

Brian Nichols  14:25  
I'm glad you brought that up, because you may have read my mind, because believe it or not, we actually did an entire episode on prospera with Joel bomb gar on the show. This is episode 428 Back in January of last year, so yes, prime example I'm actually going to include this in the show notes. And I'll include this episode as well for you YouTube watcher as well, but you just watch the end of the episode, that video will pop up. Make sure you check this episode out because it is awesome. So ya know, 100% is a great example. I was wondering if you're going to bring this up as an example because Joel did an amazing job explaining how basically you This thought experiment that we've talked about in our little group chats and stuff, right is becoming reality. And it's showing not just how it can work. But now it's becoming a case study that we can we can start to look to, as an example, when we're trying to start this stuff in other places. And also, to the part that I think it goes beyond what we're talking about. We're talking about the political and the principles and the philosophic philosophical stuff. But what's the actual impact that that, you know, for example, Prospero brought to the people of Prospero, and that is it brought opportunity, it brought a different way of doing things for the people living there. So it actually helped improve opportunities for folks where now all sudden, they had jobs that weren't available before. So yes, you are seeing that it does impact folks across the board. So I'm glad you brought that up, Joe, or Scott, thank you.

Scott Beyer  15:50  
Yeah. And I visited prosphora. Last summer during my Honduras stop. And, yeah, it, I saw a lot of promise. And I mean, it's very early on. But I think in some cases, it's further along than what people might expect. I mean, it's actually developing residents in the community now. And it's on some beautiful, like, Island property that looks out over the ocean. And I found that, yeah, they were employing a lot of locals. So that's one of the promises that have I think, prosper. It's not just going to be like this, this city that's necessarily attracting, save the global entrepreneur entrepreneurial leads, although it it will be doing some of that. But I think a lot of the promise of these of these private cities is that they're going to have spillover effects on the local population of more jobs, more prosperity, higher property values, things like that.

Brian Nichols  16:49  
Yep. And I'm sorry, YouTube viewer, I just realized this actually, this video was recorded, right when I was moving from Philadelphia to Indiana. So there actually was no YouTube episodes. So this is going to be an audio only exclusive for folks who want to check that out. But don't worry, it's going to be in the show notes. So folks can go ahead and check out that episode with Joel but otherwise, with that being said, Scott, we are getting towards the tail end of the episode. So when we're talking about marker urbanism, right, and I think it is a topic that a lot of folks, they're they're trying to pick up, right, they're trying to mean, they don't know the term itself, but they understand what you're looking to accomplish. And they're trying to implement some of this market urbanism into their communities, what would be the best way you would recommend for someone to be able to start making a change in their immediate circles to make things in a more pro market? urbanist approach?

Scott Beyer  17:39  
Yeah, and and that gets back to the first definition of market urbanism. Because not everyone can build their own city through libertarian experiments. So yeah, if you're the average Joe, and you're just living in a existing city? Well, you know, you can go to what is market urbanism, we have a page on my site that just goes over the different issues. But I mean, I think if if you're if you're dealing, say, with high home cost in your city, you can look at the market urbanist literature on why that is it's it usually has to do with government regulations and sort of like this entrenched, regulatory paradigm, particularly around zoning, but other things as well. And you can you can go to your meetings and bring public meetings and bring that up, because a lot of times like people are people are defending these regulations. But there's not many people with these public meetings that are saying, No, these are actually the reason we have a housing shortage. This is the reason that that, you know, housing in the city is 30%, above the national median, so on and so forth.

Brian Nichols  18:46  
It's amazing. Just get involved people. How about that? And by the way, that speaks to by my sponsor, which is me, huh, how about that, folks? We have a brand new free ebook, and that is how to win your local elections speaks to the importance of also getting involved locally. Right, Scott? So go ahead, grab your free ebook, we're going to show you everything you need to know from number one launching a campaign. What does that entail, fundraising, voter outreach, messaging, all that in between, at the Brian Nichols show.com, forward slash win local, get your free copy today. And with that, Scott, we are unfortunately at the point of the episode where we are getting ready for our final thoughts, and I will kick things off, how about that? I think it's important for folks to get involved not just in their communities, but also for us to start changing the conversation. How do we do that? And I think this is where I've tried to make a difference here in the greater liberty movement is teaching folks how to enter into these conversations that traditionally are a little uncomfortable, right, or they would traditionally put up defenses people, when they hear politics start as the conversation point. They instantly know what their opinion is, and they're they're putting the barriers up, they're putting the defenses up. So we want to be able to break down those defenses. And I think if you live in a big city and You see the problems right? I live in Philadelphia, I saw the issues when COVID hit and the garbage didn't show up for literally four weeks. It was gross. I mean, rats running on the garbage. Talking about a health hazard is more of a health hazard than COVID was for sure. And yet that happened, right? I happen in my backyard. So being able to get involved, talk to those community leaders make change and show up get get data in actually standing in the events where the rooms where it's happening, where folks are standing there and having these conversations that are impacting the way you live your life. So that's my final thoughts. Scott, what do you have for us all the way down in South Africa today?

Scott Beyer  20:38  
Well, they don't pull it Philadelphia for no reason. That those are my final thoughts. Yeah, my my final thoughts are, I say follow my journey, in look it up in the show notes because it is going to be an interesting thing. The cities of the developing world are very, very different than the US the challenges which we kind of already went over, are very, it's like another world. And it does make you very appreciative for the United States and the type of standard of living that we get to enjoy in my mind, largely because we did follow a capitalistic system. And I hope that we continue to so that people aren't having to diversify their portfolios away from the US. And I hope we kind of we remember what political principles got us to where we are today.

Brian Nichols  21:35  
Amen. Well Scott and with that being said, it's on to the the audience now to actually take initiative to move things forward. So folks, if you are willing to take the challenge should you choose to say that as well please do me a favor start things off by sharing today's episode. And when you do, please tag yours truly at being Nichols. Liberty, Scott, where can folks go ahead and find you they want continue the conversation,

Scott Beyer  21:59  
market urbanism report.com. And if you want a day to day look at my photo essays from from stop to stop the market urbanism report, Facebook group,

Brian Nichols  22:11  
a plus I'm a member and I enjoy it thoroughly. So folks, if you again got some value, please go ahead and share today's episode. Also go ahead and give us a five star rating and review if you'd be so kind and oh, by the way, we have an amazing shop of all types of goodies you can get to be yes, the most amazing Liberty lover out there you can rock your Brian Nichols show swag, but also changed some hearts and minds and get some laughs along the way. We have our Now that's what I call tyranny. Klaus Schwab shirt, magic money tree shirt. Yeah, we have that as well. Plus what happened in 1971? We're asking good questions. And speaking of asking good questions. Have you gotten our question everything or? Yeah, our don't our good ideas don't require for us bumper stickers that are over at the shop. Well, either way, do me a favor, use code TBS at checkout, do yourself a favor, yes, save 10% off your order. And by the way, it's an libertarian organization, too, that you're supporting. So it's a win win, you get some awesome stuff. And you're supporting fellow libertarians along the way. So that being said, Folks, that's all we have for you today. I think, you know, with that big looking at where we are, you know, Scott, I'm excited to see the future of market urbanism. So thank you for all you're doing. And folks, if you got some value from what Scott's doing, go ahead and reach out. Tell him you heard him on The Brian Nichols Show and you appreciate all he's doing. But with that being said, thank you for joining us on of course, another fun filled episode. With that being said Brian Eno signing off. You're on The Brian Nichols Show for Scott bear. We'll see you tomorrow, listening to The Brian Nichols Show. Find more episodes though it's at Brian Nichols show.com

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

Scott BeyerProfile Photo

Scott Beyer


Scott Beyer owns and manages Market Urbanism Report. He's an urban affairs journalist who writes regular columns for the Independent Institute, Governing Magazine and HousingOnline.com