The economic Value of Parks and Green spaces
Meanwhile, “A growing body of evidence suggests that increasing high quality green space can generate wide-ranging benefits to the three pillars of sustainable development: the environment, the economy, and wider society,” according to The Guardian. Researchers also are trying to estimate the value of the natural world by taking account of the economic, health, and social benefits we get from nature. “In order to improve the environment, economic growth and personal wellbeing, the nation must consider the value that nature can bring.”
The Guardian goes on to say that in urban areas, green infrastructure is one way of achieving these aims. Green infrastructure “can best be understood as a network of high quality green spaces woven into the fabric of the city. It includes playing fields, rivers, railway embankments, walking paths, gardens, parks, green roofs, and countless small and large scale environmental features.”
New green infrastructure investments provides amazing lifestyle amenities that residents can take advantage of and that attract seniors looking for a city in which to retire.
Such amenities tend to be part of an active, healthy lifestyle that people of all ages are aspiring to attain. Plus, boosting health and wellness tends to lower medical premiums, resulting in more cash to spend locally.
Whether it’s through increasing employee productivity or helping hospital patients recover faster, green spaces benefit the economy in many ways, according to Project EverGreen.
“There is a significant link between the value of a property and its proximity to parks, greenbelts and other green spaces,” reads a Project EverGreen fact sheet on the economic benefits of green spaces. “Studies of three neighborhoods in Boulder, Colo., indicated that property values decreased by $4.20 for each foot away from a greenbelt.”
That’s critical considering that property values are so important for both those who own the property and those considering investing in the area. Developers and large companies want to move to areas where residents are willing to invest in their own communities.
So those parks and greenways not only increase property values, but also help foster development that benefits local residents with more money for schools and better quality of life. After all, those major employers know their employees value education and lifestyle amenities.
Small businesses, which serve as the backbone of most economies and has historically produced about half private nonfarm gross domestic product in the US, also thrive when residents stay in their local communities to eat, shop, work, and play, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration.
Another interesting tidbit about small businesses: When choosing a new location, they rank the amount of open space and proximity to parks and recreation as the top priority in site selection, according to Project EverGreen.
We all know landscaping can boosts a home’s value but it can be a boon for businesses, too. Project EverGreen cited the Roadside Studies by the University of Washington when stating that drivers indicated it was easier to locate roadside businesses when framed by trees and vegetation, rather than having this green material removed.
Greenery and flowers attract shoppers and residents to urban areas, spurring economic growth. Greening of business districts also increases community pride and positive perception of an area, drawing customers to the businesses and breathing new life into languishing commercial districts.
Quality landscaping can be good for business in terms of profit margins, too. Consumers associate well-landscaped businesses with quality goods, and on average are willing to pay a 12 percent premium for goods purchased in retail establishments that are accompanied by quality landscaping.
Business owners are not the only one’s to benefit from the greening – and the cash green such practices produce.
Employees with an outside view of plants report feeling less job pressure and greater job satisfaction than workers who have no view of the outdoors, or whose views are of man-made objects. They also report fewer headaches and other ailments than workers without a view. This is in part because access to nature and open space provides a sense of rest and allows workers to be more productive.
Employment opportunities also are associated with the creation and long-term maintenance of urban open space, as well as tourism dollars from parks, gardens and civic areas.
“Parks provide intrinsic environmental, aesthetic, and recreation benefits to our cities,” according to a briefing paper on how cities use parks for economic development created by the American Planning Association. They are also a source of positive economic benefits.
They enhance property values, increase municipal revenue, and attract homebuyers, affluent retirees, knowledge workers, and other workplace talent.
Despite these benefits, some cities have slashed parks and recreation offerings to balance city budgets.
But when done right, parks can both pay for themselves and generate extra revenue. “Increased property values and increased municipal revenues go hand in hand,” reads the association’s report. “Property tax is one of the most important revenue streams for cities. By creating a positive climate for increased property values, the tax rolls will benefit in turn. In addition, tax revenues from increased retail activity and tourism-related expenditures further increase municipal monies. … At the bottom line, parks are a good financial investment for a community. Understanding the economic impacts of parks can help decision-makers better evaluate the creation and maintenance of urban parks.”