Alain Bertaud is a Distinguished Visiting Scholar at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. He began his career in urban planning when he grew bored at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts 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), often collaborating with GIS expert Marie-Agnès Bertaud. From 1980 to 1999, Bertaud was principal urban planner at the World Bank. After retiring from the Bank, he worked as an independent consultant. His 2018 book “Order Without Design: How Markets Shape Cities” has been translated into Chinese and Portuguese. Bertaud is a Senior Fellow at the NYU Marron Institute.
Bertaud’s research aims to bridge the gap between operational urban planning and urban economics. He has published articles in the Journal of Urban Economics, Journal of Housing Economics, and Regional Science and Urban Economics focusing on the impact on urban form of the complex interaction between land markets, transport networks and regulations. Bertaud earned the Architecte DPLG diploma from the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris.