Glossary and Abbreviations

    Glossary and Abbreviations

    As of August 7, 2015



    Air right sale. One of the development-based LVC instruments. Governments sell development rights extended beyond the limits specified in land use regulations (e.g., FAR) or created by regulatory changes to raise funds to finance public infrastructure and services.

    Bus rapid transit (BRT). High-quality bus-based services that mimic many of the features of high-capacity metrorail systems but at a fraction of the cost. Buses most closely resemble metrorail services when they operate on specially designated lanes or have physically separated lanes for their exclusive use. Grade separation of busways at critical intersections and junctures also expedites flows. BRT systems often include bus stations instead of stops to provide weather protection and allow passengers to pay before boarding.

    Central business district (CBD). Areas where cities’ major businesses (financial institutions, stores, major convention and sport facilities, hotels, etc.) are concentrated. CBDs produce agglomeration economies.

    Eminent domain. Regulatory power granted to governments or public agencies, which allows them to take private property for public projects or interests, subject to appropriate compensation.

    Floor area ratio (FAR). Ratio of a building’s total floor area to the size of the land on which it is built. The higher the FAR, the higher the density. Also referred to as floor space ratio (FSR) or floor space index (FSI).

    Greenfield development. New development that takes place on lands that were not previously developed as urban land including agricultural, rural, and unused land.

    Land readjustment scheme. Landowners pool their land together for reconfiguration and contribute a portion of their land for sale to raise funds to partially defray public infrastructure development costs. This can be used as a development-based LVC instrument to finance transit and TOD-related investments.

    Land value capture (LVC). LVC is defined as a public financing method by which governments (a) trigger an increase in land values via regulatory decisions (e.g., change in land use or FAR) and/or infrastructure investments (e.g., transit); (b) institute a process to share this land value increment by capturing part or all of the change; and (c) use LVC proceeds to finance infrastructure investments (e.g., investments in transit and TOD), any other improvements required to offset impacts related to the changes (e.g., densification), and/or implement public policies to promote equity (e.g., provision of affordable housing to alleviate shortages and offset potential gentrification). There are two main categories of LVC: development-based LVC and tax- or fee-based LVC. Development-based LVC can be facilitated through direct transaction of properties whose values have been increased by public regulatory decisions or infrastructure investment. Tax- or fee-based LVC is facilitated through indirect methods, such as extracting surplus from property owners, through various tax or fee instruments (e.g., property taxes, betterment charges, special assessments, etc.).

    Market freehold system. Land holding system under which landowners have absolute ownership of land. Its conditions are full right of transfer, right to bequeath, right to mortgage, full use rights (unless restricted by law), and unlimited duration.

    Mixed use. Pattern of development characterized by a mixture of diversified land uses, typically including housing, retail activities, and private businesses, either within the same building space (e.g., vertical mixing) or in close proximity (e.g., horizontal mixing).

    Nonmotorized transport (NMT). Any type of transport mode that is not motorized, such as walking or bicycling. NMT has gained popularity as not only a clean, carbon-free form of mobility with a very small footprint but also as a means to improve public health through increased physical activity.

    Public-private partnership (PPP). Formal partnership between a public sector entity and a private corporation often used to construct and operate infrastructure facilities or develop certain urban areas.

    Redevelopment/regeneration. Type of development that seeks to reinvest in already developed areas, typically targeting parcels that are underutilized (e.g., vacant or abandoned properties); often considered part of an economic development scheme.

    Sprawl. Pattern of development characterized by uniform low density, lack of a distinctive core, poor accessibility, dependence on automobiles, and uncontrolled and noncontiguous land expansion.

    State leasehold system. Land holding system under which lands are owned by the states and the lands are leased by the states to individuals or firms for a fixed duration, with lease fees and other conditions. The rights enjoyed by lessees can vary with specific lease conditions, but terms frequently allow for the right to assign the lease to another or allocate the residual value of the lease. Development and use rights are likely to be restricted by the States.

    Transfer of development rights (TDR). Ability to effectively buy and sell “air rights” (i.e., rights to fully develop the maximum allotted vertical envelope—or “air space”—of properties) within the limit of their FAR allotment or the unused development rights that remain when a particular building does not use up its FAR allotment; typically applies only to certain parcels, and the rights often can only be transferred to specific “receiving” parcels.

    Transit-adjacent development (TAD). Development that is similar to TOD in that it is located within the vicinity of a transit node but is not actually connected with transit in the absence of pedestrian-friendly development organized around a transit station.

    Transit-oriented development (TOD). Compact, mixed-use, pedestrian-friendly development organized around a transit station. TOD embraces the idea that locating amenities, employment, retail shops, and housing around transit hubs promotes transit usage and nonmotorized travel.

    Urban redevelopment scheme. Development-based LVC instrument mainly used in Japan. Landowners together with a developer establish one cooperative entity to consolidate piecemeal land parcels into a single site that they then develop (e.g., high-rise building and/or mixed-use building) with new access roads and public open spaces. The local government modifies zoning codes and increases maximum FARs in the targeted redevelopment district (typically around rail transit stations).




    BRT: bus rapid transit

    CEPAC: Certificates of Additional Construction Potential

    CDA: comprehensive development area

    DBLVC: development-based land value capture

    DFI: development financial institution

    DIF: District Improvement Fund

    FAR: floor area ratio

    GLUP: General Land Use Plan

    HSR: high-speed rail

    JD: joint development

    LVC: land value capture

    NMT: nonmotorized transport

    O&M: operation and maintenance

    ORR: Outer Ring Road

    PFI: private finance initiative

    PPP: public-private partnership

    R+P: Rail Plus Property (program implemented by MTR Corporation, Limited, Hong Kong SAR, China)

    TAD: transit-adjacent development

    TDR: transfer of development rights or transferable development rights

    TOD: transit-oriented development