The Value of Open Space: a Mixed Methods Study on the Gulf Coast

APA Alabama Chapter


Thursday, October 5, 2017
2:40 p.m. - 3:40 p.m. CDT

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he Value of Open Space: a Mixed Methods Study on the Gulf Coast


In this session, we discuss a recent research project designed to quantify the benefits of open space in order to assist urban planners and policy-makers make informed land use decisions. Open spaces in cities are areas partially or completely covered with trees, grass, water, and other vegetation and are often categorized as public parks, playgrounds, wetlands, cemeteries, beaches, forested and agricultural land, pastures, and shrubland. Open spaces provide a wide variety of benefits and services such as environmental services, health and socio-cultural benefits, increased real estate values, local and state economic improvements, energy use reduction, and recreational benefits. As cities grow, and open space becomes scarce, demand for its benefits increases, which motivates decision-makers to incorporate open space into planning activities and land use decisions. Given the importance of open space benefits to communities, tools are needed to assist in the process of planning for open space.



The overall goal of this research was to provide estimates of use and nonuse monetary values associated with open space. To this end, we employed two forms of econometric modeling, contingent valuation and hedonic pricing, and several sources of primary and secondary data, including Multiple Listing Service and the U.S. Census. Using these different methods, a more complete understanding about quantification of open space was developed than using a single method alone. Findings suggest residents were concerned about the changing character of their communities in the face of development and were willing to pay a price premium for open space preservation. The session is split into three sections, each explaining a unique open space valuation approach and results. Implications for future research and policy will also be addressed.


Joan Marshall Wesley

Dr. Joan Marshall Wesley is associate professor of Urban and Regional Planning at Jackson State University, Jackson, MS. Her work emphasizes the intersection of stakeholder empowerment and community-based participatory research to promote healthy and sustainable communities. Joan’s independent and collaborative work focuses upon housing and public health, community development ... Read More

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