This report reviews the literature, including case studies, dealing with the economic benefits of creating parks, preserving working land, preserving land prone to flooding, conserving ecosystem benefits, and preventing sprawl development. Parks and preserved lands boost land values and property taxes, attract residents and businesses, encourage economic development, boost the economy of surrounding areas, save money over some types of development, preserve ecosystem services, and reduce health care costs. One example given in the paper is how New York used $1.2 billion to restore and protect natural land in New York City’s watersheds, which prevented the need to build a $6-$8 billion water filtration plant.
Headwaters Economics created this interactive web page to show how protected public lands such as national parks can play an important economic role for local communities. The web-based tool lists visits, non-local spending, and the number of jobs created in gateway communities for each of the National Park Service units. The greatest value of natural amenities and recreation opportunities often lies in the land’s ability to attract and retain people, entrepreneurs, their businesses, and the growing number of retirees who locate for quality of life reasons.
In 2007, Philadelphia’s park system provided the city with $23.3 million in increased tax revenue, $729 million in increased resident wealth, $16 million in savings of governmental expenditures and $1.15 billion in resident savings. This includes benefits from parks enhancing the value of nearby properties, tourist spending, decreased stormwater treatment costs, the value of recreation that occurred at parks, health benefits from exercise done in parks, the absorption of air pollutants by the city’s trees and shrubs, and community cohesion benefits.
An extensive analysis of New York City’s parks shows that strategic investment in revitalizing parks yields significant economic returns to the city, investors and neighboring communities. While not all park investments have generated economic returns, strategic planning, effective maintenance and community involvement can lead to successful park investments that create economic revitalization. One success case provided in this study is Bryant Park, which, after a complete overhaul in the 1980s, reopened and is now a major draw for both tourists and local residents, seeing 20,000 visitors each day. Between 1990-2002, asking rents for commercial office space near the park increased between 115% and 225% as compared to increases ranging from 41% to 73% in the surrounding submarkets.
This paper describes seven economic benefits of parks and provides a case study for each. Parks increase the property value of nearby properties; lead to increased sales tax revenue from spending by tourists who visit primarily because of a city’s parks; provide city residents with free or low cost recreation; provide residents with a multitude of ways to stay healthy; create stronger, safer and more successful neighborhoods; lower stormwater treatment costs; and reduce health care costs by absorbing air pollutants and reducing the impacts they have on residents’ cardiovascular and respiratory systems.
A literature review finding that neighborhood and community parks have a potentially positive impact on surrounding residential communities. This research report finds a substantial increase in housing values near neighborhood and community parks.
This paper focuses on the role mixed-income infill housing and a network of parks can play in increasing city density, increasing access to parks for residents of all income levels, and strengthening cities. Key findings include: States can promote or reward the construction of affordable housing through the offer of funding for parks; cities can integrate the planning and creation of affordable housing and parks; private developers can build compact developments that allow for walking, affordable housing, and parkland; and community development corporations can expand their work beyond housing to include parks.
Study finds that Cleveland-area parks and trails enhance property values, provide recreational opportunities, improve human health, attract visitors, and provide
natural goods and services such as filtering air pollutants and managing stormwater. Additionally, they support local jobs, boost spending at local businesses, and generate local tax revenue.
Study calculates the economic benefits of the city's parks, including $18 million net income from tourist spending, $30 million in boosted property values, and $804,000 million in stormwater management savings.
Study analyzes the economic benefits of parks and trails in Johnson County, including boosted property values, stormwater management, tax revenues, and tourism.
To show how a strategy of land conservation is integral to economic health, this report illustrates that parks and open space increase property tax revenue and yields a better return on investment than development. It reviews the economic benefits of farmland preservation, shows how forest cover decreases the cost of treating drinking water, enumerates the economic value of urban trees, and examines the role of parks and open space in attracting businesses and affluent retirees to a community.
This article reviews a sizable body of peer-reviewed and independent reports on the economic value of outdoor recreation facilities, open spaces and walkable community design. Open spaces such as parks and recreation areas can increase residential property values and property tax revenues for local governments; it is less expensive to provide roads, water and sewer services to homes in compact, walkable developments than it is to homes in large, suburban developments; and the parks and the open spaces and greenbelts offered by compact walkable neighborhoods create higher housing prices and marketing opportunities.
Study calculates the economic benefits of San Francisco's parks, including $431 million net income from tourist spending and $122 million in boosted property values.
Study evaluates the economic value of Seattle's parks, related to property value, tourism, direct use, health, community cohesion, clean water, and clean air. The parks generate nearly $20 million in tax revenue, boost property values by $80 million, and save residents $64 million in medical costs.
Study calculates the economic benefits of the county's parks, including $19 million net income from tourist spending, $10 million in boosted property values, and $4 million in savings from reduced air pollution.
By providing park areas and access to an array of free or low-cost outdoor activities, such as biking, exercising, exploring nature, gardening, hiking, picnicking, swimming, walking, and wildlife viewing, San José generates numerous economic benefits within the local community. Parks, trails, and community centers enhance property values, provide recreational opportunities, improve human health, attract visitors, and provide natural goods and services such as filtering
air pollutants and managing stormwater.
In 2008, Pennsylvania’s state parks hosted 33.6 million visitors who spent $738 million on their trips, which includes a $191.4 million impact from out-of-state visitors. The direct effects of this were $174.5 million in wage/salary income and 8,439 jobs and these jobs generated $354.6 million in secondary sales. This economic impact analysis of Pennsylvania’s state parks includes an overall economic analysis, a one-page fact sheet for each park and results of similar studies from other states.
In 2010, Pennsylvania’s state parks hosted 37.9 million visitors who spent $859 million on their trips, including $201 million in spending by out-of-state visitors. The direct effects of this were 9,435 part-time and full-time jobs; $227.2 million in wages, salaries and payroll benefits; and $360.6 million in value added benefits. This report includes both statewide and park specific analyses and a comparison the results of similar studies from other states.
A review of the now quite extensive economics literature on the value of open space, this study covers more than 60 articles published in the past 25 years that use the various methodologies. The analysis focuses primarily on the value of open space in and around urbanized areas, including parks, greenbelts, natural areas and wildlife habitats, wetlands, and farmland.