Market Urbanism Around the World

Catalyst’s Market Urbanism Around the World series follows Market Urbanism specialist Scott Beyer’s tour of the “global south” and catalogs economic development across Latin America, Africa and Asia. Scott Beyer is a Catalyst Columnist Fellow and the owner of the Market Urbanism Report, a media company that advances free-market city policy. He is also an urban affairs journalist who writes regular columns for Forbes, Governing Magazine,, and Catalyst. Follow him on Twitter: @marketurbanist.

American Privilege
Traveling the developing world reveals vast inequality, racism, and sexism—and just how fortunate Americans are.
Scott Beyer | January 15, 2024
Japan: Where High-Speed Rail Works
The Shinkansen system is efficient and being exported to other countries. Will something similar work in the U.S.?
Scott Beyer | January 8, 2024
The Market-Driven Superblocks of Southeast Asia
In Jakarta and Bangkok, narrow streets and densely-packed activity result from private spatial negotiations.
The 3rd World’s Emerging Economic Powerhouses
A look inside the fast population and GDP growth of countries like the Philippines.
Scott Beyer | December 25, 2023
Should Global South Megacities Be Decentralized?
Planners in Indonesia and other Third World countries are making sprawling, autocentric plans to supplant their dense cities—repeating America’s past mistakes.
Scott Beyer | December 18, 2023
The Anatomy of a Chinese Ghost City
The Chinese build cities that fall way under population projections. Who keeps funding this and why does it happen?
Scott Beyer | December 11, 2023
Centralized Versus Decentralized Transit
Various Asian regions show a convenience gap between different styles of mass transport.
Scott Beyer | December 4, 2023
Debt Diplomacy: China’s Third World Play
While the U.S. pursues neoconservatism, China is doing nation-building across the Global South.
Scott Beyer | November 27, 2023
The Dilemma of Third World Banking
Government banking monopolies have led to an oppressive status quo of inflation, high fees and surveillance of funds. Can the private sector disrupt this?
Scott Beyer | November 20, 2023
Does Tourism Really Hurt Third World Cities?
Western criticism of tourism in poor nations ignores the economic stimulus the industry provides.
Scott Beyer | November 13, 2023
How Are Roads Used In a Free Market?
The Third World, such as Gurgaon, India, shows how streets function without any government in place to enforce traffic laws.
Scott Beyer | November 6, 2023
India’s Urban “Honking Culture”
Drivers in India, like much of the Third World, use horns to navigate hazardous, crowded roads. Should anything be done about it?
Scott Beyer | October 30, 2023
Yes, Cities Can Still Achieve Public Order
The Arabian Gulf shows how a mix of religious and government authoritarianism leads to safer cities. But do they go overboard?
Scott Beyer | October 23, 2023
The Modernization of Arabia
The wealthy, oil-rich countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council pursue economic openness and extreme growth to diversify beyond energy.
Scott Beyer | October 16, 2023
Airline Deregulation Also Succeeds In The Third World
Asia and Latin America prove once again that market liberalization cuts prices and adds options.
Scott Beyer | October 9, 2023
Is Dubai a YIMBY Success Story?
The wealthy emirate builds a lot, but is not a free housing market - and falls short of what it needs.
Scott Beyer | October 2, 2023
United Arab Emirates: A Pro-Immigrant Powerhouse
The UAE is “a nation of immigrants," and has become one of the world’s top economies
Scott Beyer | September 25, 2023
Tribalism And Urban Development: A Rough Mix
Lack of formal land ownership and tribal tradition pose challenges for property rights and development in the Third World
Scott Beyer | September 18, 2023
The Difference Between First and Third World Urbanism
Third World cities are less planned, more chaotic. But that’s not inherently bad.
Scott Beyer | September 11, 2023
The Rise of African Telecom
Rapid expansion of fiber, satellite, and mobile technology are improving day-to-day life in Africa - much of it thanks to private investment.
Scott Beyer | September 4, 2023
The Ingenuity of Third World Ridesharing
While commercial carpooling drags along in the U.S., there's much competition and innovation in the developing world.
Scott Beyer | August 28, 2023
Central Africa’s Singapore
Rwanda - namely its capital city Kigali - shows another case of the upsides versus downsides of authoritarian rule.
Scott Beyer | August 21, 2023
Ethiopia: No Property Rights, Much Chaos
Constant human reshuffling within Addis Ababa shows how hard life is when governments own all the land.
Scott Beyer | August 14, 2023
The Emergent Urbanism Of Nairobi
The city’s working-class areas show the urban typologies that fill in assuming strong market demand and limited government oversight.
Scott Beyer | August 7, 2023
Makoko: The City on Stilts
The Nigerian fishing village is a place of danger but also entrepreneurial spirit and governing autonomy.
Scott Beyer | July 31, 2023
Tourist Visas: A Path To Corruption
Third World countries sabotage their goal of attracting tourists and investors by making it difficult for either group to enter.
Scott Beyer | July 24, 2023
The Challenge Of Being An Island Nation
Sao Tome knows the logistical hurdles of being small and remote. Can economic liberalization improve things?
Scott Beyer | July 17, 2023
Kigali ‘Mototaxis’: Fast, Cheap, Ubiquitous Transport
Residents traverse the Rwandan capital by choosing among 30,000 motorcycle drivers.
Scott Beyer | July 10, 2023
The Third World: A Massive Shadow Economy
Two decades after Hernando de Soto’s The Mystery of Capital, little has changed about economic systems in the developing world.
Scott Beyer | July 3, 2023
Africa’s Free-Market Bus Systems
Entrepreneurs, not government, provide this crucial service. Yet the difference between systems in Kenya vs. South Africa shows the service diversity throughout the continent.
Scott Beyer | June 26, 2023
The Agrarian Urbanism of Africa
The informal, small-scale commerce that dominates African cities is enabled by farming and other agrarian activity that happens within cities themselves.
Scott Beyer | June 19, 2023
Lusaka and the Failure of the “Garden City”
A utopian social experiment mixed with segregation has impoverished Zambia’s capital.
Scott Beyer | June 12, 2023
The Poverty of Madagascar
Government policy is a huge factor, but it’s also something that can be reversed.
Scott Beyer | June 5, 2023
Johannesburg: Where Apartheid Never Ended
Three decades later, the city and country are still extremely segregated.
Scott Beyer | May 29, 2023
How South Africa’s Energy Crisis Brings The Country Down
Its overburdened monopoly power supply needs expansion to meet the population’s needs.
Scott Beyer | May 22, 2023
What Mexico City Can Teach the U.S. About Parklets
In a city of low car ownership and small retail storefronts, parklets expand seating capacity.
Scott Beyer | May 15, 2023
Latin America’s Food Delivery Wars
Market competition drives delivery prices down, while government protectionism does the opposite for rideshare.
Scott Beyer | May 8, 2023
Latin America’s Zoning-free Urbanism
Spontaneous commerce, dense settlements, high-rises, and seemingly non-existent zoning dominate the urban realm.
Scott Beyer | May 1, 2023
Latin America’s Fabulous Indian Branding
Peru leans into its Incan heritage, and other countries to their roots.
Scott Beyer | April 24, 2023
Where Free Markets Bring Modernity
What Other Latin American Countries Can Learn From Chile
The Dangers of Currency Devaluation
How Argentina wrecked its economy, and how it can come back.
Scott Beyer | April 10, 2023
Asuncion: Booming Population, Porous Infrastructure
The Paraguay capital’s growth is exposing the flaws of public utilities, but the promise of private replacements.
Scott Beyer | April 3, 2023
How to Create an Urban Amenity Beach
Latin American beaches might be even better with private management.
Scott Beyer | March 27, 2023
Favelas, the Great Untapped Neighborhoods
Here's what I learned visiting some of the most dangerous places on Earth.
Scott Beyer | March 20, 2023
The Challenge of Latin American “Centros”
Downtown areas there struggle with crime and obsolescence. What can bring them back?
Scott Beyer | March 13, 2023
“Zona Francas”: A Step Towards Latin American Freedom
The region’s trade-focused SEZs should take a further step and deregulate land use.
Scott Beyer | March 6, 2023
Latin America: A Transit Success Story
Cities there have systems that are more innovative, efficient and well-used than the U.S.
Scott Beyer | February 27, 2023
Barrios Tropicales: The Making of Green Neighborhoods
In Latin America, a mix of public and private investment has created tropical urban settings.
Scott Beyer | February 20, 2023
The Darien Gap Tragedy
The one unclosed gap in the route from North to South America is hazardous and economically costly.
Scott Beyer | February 13, 2023
Panama City’s Success: A Product of Trade and Liberalization
The city's success is a testament to free markets and openness to trade
Scott Beyer | February 6, 2023
Honduras’ Charter City Experiment
The ZEDE law passed by the impoverished Central American nation can become a model for the charter city movement, but only if not upended by a hostile government.
Scott Beyer | January 30, 2023
The Folly of Urban Planning in Guatemala City
Guatemala City's “Opportunity District” plan shows the flaws of trying to predict where growth happens
Scott Beyer | January 23, 2023
Latin American Cities Are Underrated
It's clear why many with the option to work remotely are choosing Mexico City as their new home
Scott Beyer | January 16, 2023