The Definition of Housing Market Areas and Strategic Planning
[Paper rst received, March 1999; in nal form, August 2001]
Summary. The purpose of this paper is to develop the concept of a housing market area, thereby provide insights into our understanding of the sub-regional structures of the housing system and hence propose a framework for strategic planning research in the housing market. To tackle this task, it is rst necessary to consider the criteria for a local housing market area. The paper begins by reviewing previous de nitions by both academics and planners, and their underlying assumptions. Based on the principle of spatial arbitrage, a local housing market area is de ned by reference to criteria linked to migration self-containment. Paralels are drawn with the principles that have been applied to de ne a system of spatial labour markets using travel-to-work areas. This spatial arbitrage de nition is tested empiricaly by developing a system of housing market areas for west central Scotland using data derived from the Land Registry. Finaly, the paper draws together the empirical ndings to discuss the nature of spatial housing markets and the implications for strategic planning. It argues that the establishment of a geography of functional housing market areas represents the rst step in the development of systematic planning research.
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