Keywords: equalization, transfer of development rights, public/private agreements, urban rent.
Planning instruments have always dealt with land value and economic rent. The choices that authorities make about city spaces determine the appreciation (or devaluation) of urban land by altering their quality. The value at stake is mainly public. Local authorities have to capture planning gains that represents a relevant zoning choices’ economic output. This article discusses the instruments that local authorities have used to capture the urban rent generated by zoning decisions. The focus is primarily on the Italian contributions and the Italian experiences. The paper takes into consideration the instruments widely experimented with in the last twenty years: equalization, transfer of development rights, and public/private agreements. The article highlights these three instruments’ differing fortunes and the success – not devoid of critical aspects and contradictions – that development agreements enjoy today as the primary cultural and administrative reference in many parts of Italy.