11.17.2010

The Economic Value of Protected Open Space


How many times have we heard this debate before: while meanies clamor for more development, greenies clamor to protect farmland and parks. I personally am probably more meanie than greenie, but above all I want a fair and informed discussion.

So I'm happy to announce that a report my firm worked on has been released for public consumption: "The Economic Value of Protected Open Space in Southeastern Pennsylvania." You can see a copy of the report here, here, and here.

The aim of this study was to inject the notion that in the weighing of "development" versus "no development," the gains associated with the "no development" option are not non-existent. Whether they exceed the gains associated with the "development" option is an argument for another time; but they are not zero, when you account for 1) jobs and revenues associated with the activities like agriculture and tourism, 2) property value enhancement associated with wanting to live near outdoor amenities, 3) recreational benefits and health care cost reductions associated with using parks and trails, and 4) ecological services rendered by the natural resources on these lands.

Kudos to Greenspace Alliance and the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission for being great clients, and for hosting a fantastic news conference yesterday at Valley Forge National Park. I'm proud to have been part of the effort, and hopeful it will be used to have meaningful land use discussions about balancing the need for development with the need for preservation.

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