City Park Economics

The Old Urbanist blog has an interesting post about the economics, the quantitative value, of city parks. He begins his essay:

What’s an urban park worth to a city? The question is straightforward, but despite the attention lavished on parks in the urban design literature, the economics of parks – their measurable costs and benefits – have received less attention. Although “the science of city park economics is still in its infancy,” according to the Trust for Public Land, a number of studies over the past decade have helped establish a consensus on a few key points.

A study the author calls one of the best resources on the topic states:

  • Homes adjacent to parkland receive a 22% price premium, but the premium rapidly drops off for properties beyond 600 feet from the park.
  • Large parks do confer greater premiums than small parks, but the premium is small compared to the effect of being close to a small park.
  • Smaller lots place a higher value on park proximity than large lots.

In light of these findings, the author recommends a series of small parks, rather than a handful of large parks, as the property value benefits of the former will typically exceed the maintenance savings of the latter.

The blog post and the source it links to make an interesting read. The full post can be read at the blog itself.