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Fwd: [tb-cybergardens]: Another Study: The Effect of CommunityGardens on Neighboring Property Values"

  • Subject: [cg] Fwd: [tb-cybergardens]: Another Study: The Effect of CommunityGardens on Neighboring Property Values"
  • From: adam36055@aol.com
  • Date: Wed, 12 Apr 2006 10:51:40 -0400


This was forwarded to me by Don Loggins of the Liz Christy Garden on the
Bowery in NYC.

Adam Honigman

-----Original Message-----
From: dlogg60798@aol.com
To: cybergardens@treebranch.com
Sent: Wed, 12 Apr 2006 09:47:28 -0400
Subject: [tb-cybergardens]: Another Study: The Effect of Community Gardens on
Neighboring Property Values"

Seeing Green: Study Finds Greening is a Good Investment
Strategy for a Green City, Summer 2005

Advocates of urban greening often promote the intangible benefits that open
space provides, such as improving the quality of city life and fostering a
sense of community pride. While these benefits are difficult to quantify, a
ground-breaking study from the Wharton School of the University of
Pennsylvania now offers solid evidence that investment in greening yields
significant economic returns, specifically, dramatic increases in real estate
Funded by the William Penn Foundation, The Determinants of Neighborhood
Transformation in Philadelphia: Identification and AnalysisbThe New
Kensington Pilot Study, was developed and produced by Susan Wachter, professor
of real estate, finance, and city and regional planning at the Wharton School.
It looked at the economic impact of "place-based investment strategies,"
particularly the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society's seven-year greening
effort in the New Kensington area of North Philadelphia.
"We were always convinced that greening has a tremendously positive impact on
communities," says J. Blaine Bonham, Jr., executive vice president of PHS.
"The success of our Philadelphia Green program has demonstrated this. Now, the
Wharton findings begin to quantify the positive return on the investment in
From 1995 through 2002, the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society's Philadelphia
Green program worked in partnership with the New Kensington Community
Development Corporation (NKCDC) to address the blight caused by more than
1,100 parcels of abandoned land in the neighborhood and to come up with a
vacant-land management plan for the community. The goal was to improve the
area's appearance and help stem population loss, attract new residents, and
encourage reinvestment.

The partners created a comprehensive greening program, funded largely by the
city's Office of Housing and Community Development, with support from The Pew
Charitable Trusts and the William Penn Foundation. The strategy included
"stabilizing" vacant lots (clearing debris and installing fencing and trees),
creating community gardens, planting trees, renovating parks, and transferring
vacant lots to adjacent homeowners for private use. The results of the
PHS-NKCDC partnership include 480 newly planted trees, 145 settled side yards,
217 stabilized lots, and 15 community gardens.

Wachter's team utilized new technology and economic models to measure the
impact of greening as accurately as possible, adjusting for other factors that
affect real estate values, such as varying characteristics of individual homes
and proximity to public transportation and schools. Sales information and
other real estate data came from Philadelphia's Board of Revision of Taxes,
while NKCDC and PHS provided information on greening projects in the area.
The study incorporates sales records on thousands of homes and more than 50
variables. To analyze the relationship between greening investments and house
values, the Wharton School's Geographic Information Systems laboratory created
a special database that included the location and timing of greening
The study found significant increases in the value of individual homes near
cleaned lots, streets trees, and parks (see sidebar). It also found a
considerable increase in the total value of property in the community.
According to Wachter, tree plantings alone account for a total increase of
about $4 million, while lot improvements increased the total value by $12
Key Findings of the Wharton School Study
Cleaning and greening of vacant lots can increase adjacent property values by
as much as 30%.
Planting a tree within 50 feet of a house can increase its value by about 9%.
Location of a house within 1/4 mile from a park increased values by 10%.
Neighborhood blocks with higher concentrations of unmanaged vacant lots
displayed lower house prices, about 18%.

 from Don Loggins

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