The WSJ includes an interesting piece about urban land use, "A Farm Grow in the City: Startups are leading the way to a future in which more food is grown closer to where people live."
Is it land? Is it capital? Neither? Aggregation is a problem.
In Conceptualizing Capitalism, Geoffrey Hodgson describe economists' post-1960s scramble to elaborate the idea of capital. "Health capital", "religious capital", etc. He cites 23 variants (p. 191-192). The author wonders which ones are actually alienable -- and therefore analytically useful?
In a previous post, I cited Ake and David Andersson's approach to the problem. Here, I repeat the key passage from their discussion.
may consist of scarce natural resources such as gold or oil, and then
it takes on all the characteristics of physical capital. Access to
natural resources – including land formations that are valuable because
of their beauty – is yet another physical capital attribute. But land is
also valuable for the access is provides to other people, in which case
land should be conceptualized as a bundle of social capital attributes.
Thus, the traditional definition of capital corresponds to a bundle of
physical capital attributes, ‘land’ is a bundle of physical and social
capital attributes, and labor similarly consists of a bundle of human
and social capital attributes.” (p. xx).
Two thoughts: (1) Modeling provides clarity of thought and requires clear definitions. But these can cause problems. The urban economists' textbook model of land use suggested concentric rings around the center -- with the outermost ring being agriculture. The new hybrid land-capital-agriculture land use vastly complicates the idea of a "ring". (2) Change accelerates and we will have to rely on market signals more than ever. Those top-down land use plans are going to be less useful than ever.