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Greening increases property values in Philly

  • Subject: [cg] Greening increases property values in Philly
  • From: Don Boekelheide <dboekelheide@yahoo.com>
  • Date: Tue, 7 Dec 2004 18:40:54 -0800 (PST)

PHILADELPHIA, Dec. 7 /PRNewswire/ -- Investments in
greening and in vacant
land management can increase property values by as
much as 30%.  This fact is
reported in "The Determinants of Neighborhood
Transformation in Philadelphia -
Identification and Analysis," a study undertaken by
the Wharton School of the
University of Pennsylvania's Real Estate Department
with support from the
William Penn Foundation to look at revitalization
strategies and their impact
on neighborhoods.
    The author of the study, Susan M. Wachter, Richard
B. Worley Professor of
Financial Management; Professor of Real Estate,
Finance and City and Regional
Planning at the Wharton School, says the study looks
at the entire city, and
it is anticipated that the findings will be applicable
to other cities
throughout the United States.  "For the first time,
utilizing new technology
that included the satellite Geographic Information
System, spatial regression
models, and econometrics, we were able to measure the
steady impact of
greening," says Professor Wachter.  "Philadelphia is
at the forefront of using
place based policies to transform cities from decline
to vibrant health."
    The first report released by Wharton this month
focused on the Kensington
area of Philadelphia.  Three key findings were noted
in this preliminary

     -- Neighborhood blocks with higher concentrations
of unmanaged vacant
        lots displayed lower house prices.
     -- Tree plantings showed a significantly positive
effect on housing
        prices - increasing value close to nine
percent (this equates to
        about a $3,400 premium on the standard).
     -- There is a 64% rise in housing prices for
neighbors of vacant lots
        that have been cleaned and greened.  On the
standard house, this
        would amount to a $24,000 increase.

    The Kensington area was the site of a vacant land
management program
coordinated and managed by The Pennsylvania
Horticultural Society's
Philadelphia Green in partnership with the New
Kensington Community
Development Corporation (NKCDC).  The community-based
land management system
developed by Philadelphia Green, and funded by the
city's Office of Housing
and Community Development was designed to address the
large number of derelict
vacant lots in the area.  The goal was to improve the
appearance and curb
appeal of the community and to help stem population
loss, attract new
residents, and encourage reinvestment.
    "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.  The
Wharton findings begin to validate the true impact in
dollars and cents."
    The impact of these increases will contribute to
the fiscal health of the
City.  "The transformation of Philadelphia's
neighborhoods is not just about
bricks and mortar," says Patricia Smith, Director of
the City of
Philadelphia's Neighborhood Transformation Initiative.
 "We believe that
cleaning up vacant lots and investing in quality green
spaces is one of the
most effective ways to build thriving communities,
enhance the quality of life
and make Philadelphia one of the most desirable places
to live, work, and do
business.  That's why the city has partnered with PHS
and is investing in the
Green City Strategy."
    The Wharton School will release additional results
in January 2005 that
indicate the benefits of revitalization efforts with
regards to public safety,
schools, and business corridor investment.  Results
from the study will soon
be available on the PHS website,

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