Scott Beyer owns Market Urbanist, a media company advocating for free-market city policy. He owns a spinoff consulting firm - Beyer Policy - that tries to make these reforms a political reality.
Beyer is also an urban affairs journalist who writes regular columns for Independent Institute, Governing Magazine, and HousingOnline.com. He freelances for other publications, and does frequent media interviews on TV, radio and podcast.
In 2017, Scott Beyer founded Market Urbanism Report, a media company advocating for free-market city policy reform. But before this career he began as an everyday lover of cities.
It started when, as a kid, he would visit his grandfather to tour the fancy hotels and monuments of Washington, DC. Throughout his twenties he lived in New York, San Francisco and Portland, and traveled to many other U.S. cities, working odd jobs and exploring the cities at street level. He began researching why they grew as they did, absorbing the works of Jane Jacobs, Edward Glaeser and more. Beyer also became a devotee of the MarketUrbanism.com blog, which promotes free-market city policy. From its article backlog, he was able to read about how many of the urban problems he was seeing were caused by the government, and how those problems might be solved by letting markets work. It was a message very different from the one many of today’s urban planners espouse.
In 2015, Beyer wanted to take a deeper look into how these free-market ideas could work on grounds, so he embarked on one last travel tour. Over a 3-year period, he lived in 30 cities for a month each. Driving from his hometown of Charlottesville, VA, his first stop was Miami, and from there he went through the Deep South, the southwest and up the West Coast, with Seattle serving as halftime. Then he headed back east, staying in cities through the Intermountain West, the Great Plains, the Midwest, and the Mid-South. The final fifth of the trip was up the East Coast, ending in late 2018 in New York City.
Throughout the trip he met countless people - developers, planners, officials, activists, and other professionals - who were doing interesting things in their cities, and profiled them in his urban affairs column for Forbes. But he also saw the structural problems, like high home prices and traffic congestion, that were hurting cities.
Market Urbanist theory struck him, even more than before he started the trip, as the best way to solve these problems. So in 2017, during the Salt Lake City stop, he launched his own Market Urbanist blog - Market Urbanism Report - and ran it through the rest of his trip. In the time since it has shot off, publishing a weekly article, a podcast, and garnering a social media following of over 50,000. The blog has helped grow what was already a sizable Market Urbanism movement. It’s full of people who want to restore classical liberalism in cities, under the premise that this would make housing cheaper, transportation faster, and cities better-run.
After Beyer’s trip, he returned to Charlottesville for 2 years to write a book that summarizes his experience and the Market Urbanism concept. Then in 2021 he moved to New York City, with the goal of turning Market Urbanism Report into a bona fide think tank with annual budgets, full-time staff, and more regular content.
This website is the fruit of that effort, compiling the work of Beyer and other Market Urbanists. Click below to learn more:
Market Urbanism is a theory calling for free-market solutions to urban problems. Rooted in classical liberalism, it posits that cities work best through the bottom-up, private sector activity of many individuals, not top-down government plans. In this nifty guide, Scott Beyer describes how these free-market ideas can apply to housing, transport and public administration. You can purchase the book (including one signed by the author) below.