Alain Bertaud

Alain Bertaud Headshot Housing
    Distinguished Visiting Scholar

Alain Bertaud is a Distinguished Visiting Scholar at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. His research aims to bridge the gap between operational urban planning and urban economics, focusing on the impact on urban form of the complex interaction between land markets, transport networks, and regulations. His influential 2018 book, Order without Design: How Markets Shape Cities, has been translated into Chinese, Portuguese, and Czech. He has published research in the Journal of Urban Economics, Journal of Housing Economics, and Regional Science and Urban Economics. He has written commentary for City Journal and a column for Caos Planejado, the website of a Brazilian urbanism nonprofit.

He began his career in urban planning when he grew bored studying architecture at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts de Paris and hitchhiked to India, where he worked for Le Corbusier as a draftsman in the construction of Chandigarh. After returning to school and graduating, he worked as a resident urban planner in cities around the world­­­­—Bangkok, San Salvador (El Salvador), Port-au-Prince (Haiti), Sana’a (Yemen), New York, Paris, and Tlemcen (Algeria). From 1980 to 1999, Bertaud was principal urban planner at the World Bank. Since retiring from the Bank, he has worked as an independent consultant. 

Bertaud is a senior fellow at New York University’s Marron Institute. He received the Architecte DPLG diploma from the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts, section Architecture, in 1967.

Featured Research

Order without Design: How Markets Shape Cities, MIT Press, December 2018. (Access a preview of the book here.) 

Latest Work