Annotated Bibliography: Economic Competitiveness
Note: The list of items below builds on the annotated online bibliography compiled by the Land Trust Alliance. The LTA bibliography can be accessed in its full form here.
This annotated bibliography links to more than 40 reports, articles and web pages, giving a brief description of each. The items on the list range from general factsheets to complex statistical studies, so investigators at any level of expertise can find something to interest them.
The Trust for Public Land: Books and Reports
This web page provides access to a complete library of the organization’s publications on the value of natural spaces, including its annual City Park Facts Report, the nation’s most complete database of park facts for large U.S. cities.
The Trust for Public Land. “Books and Reports.” Online index. The Trust for Public Land. Accessed May 1, 2013.
The Economic Benefits of Open Space, Recreation Facilities and Walkable Community Design (2010)
This research synthesis reviews a sizable body of peer-reviewed, independent reports on the economic value of outdoor recreation facilities, open spaces, and walkable communities. It concludes that parks located in metropolitan areas provide economic benefits to residents, municipal governments, and private real estate developers.
Shoup, L., and R. Ewing. “The Economic Benefits of Open Space, Recreation Facilities, and Walkable Community Design.” Report prepared for Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Active Living Research (2010).
How Cities Use Parks for Economic Development (2002)
This briefing paper summarizes research on parks’ environmental, aesthetic, and recreational benefits for U.S. cities. It brings together specific examples from across the nation, demonstrating parks’ ability to increase property values and municipal revenue, and to attract homebuyers, workers, and retirees.
American Planning Association. “How Cities Use Parks for Economic Development.” In City Parks Forum Briefing Papers, vol. 3, pp. 1-4. 2002.
Open Space Property Value Premium Analysis (2008)
This detailed paper reviews existing research on the private and public benefits that undeveloped lands provide: recreational activities and the aesthetic appreciation; ecosystem services, such as clean water and air; and habitat for species that are valuable to humans. It then details a solid statistical model for calculating the dollar value of these benefits.
Kroeger, Timm. “Open Space Property Value Premium Analysis.” Report prepared for the National Council for Science and the Environment (2008).
The Value of Open Space: Evidence from Studies of Nonmarket Benefits (2005)
Open space provides a range of benefits to citizens of a community, beyond those enjoyed by private landowners. This study reviews more than 60 published articles that estimate the economic value of different types of open space.
McConnell, Virginia D., and Margaret A. Walls. The Value of Open Space: Evidence from Studies of Nonmarket Benefits. Washington, DC: Resources for the Future, 2005.
Return on the Investment from the Land & Water Conservation Fund (2010)
The report calculates the return on the LWCF dollars invested in land acquisition by four federal agencies. It finds that every $1 invested returns $4 in economic value from natural resource goods and services alone.
Sargent-Michaud, Jessica. Return on the Investment from the Land & Water Conservation Fund. Boston, MA: The Trust for Public Land, 2010.
Conservation-An Investment that Pays: The Economic Benefits of Parks and Open Spaces (2009)
Making a strong case for conservation as a long-term economic investment, this thorough overview reviews relevant research on the benefits of parks and open spaces, and provides a rich array of U.S. examples.
Gies, Erica. Conservation–An Investment that Pays: The Economic Benefits of Parks and Open Space. Boston, MA: The Trust for Public Land, 2009.
Measuring the Economic Value of a City Park System (2009)
In 2003, The Trust for Public Land’s Center for City Park Excellence gathered two dozen park experts and economists to examine the ways that park systems economically benefit cities. While not every aspect of a park system can be quantified, this report examines seven major factors: property value; tourism; direct use; health; community cohesion; clean water; and clean air.
Harnik, Peter, and Ben Welle. Measuring the Economic Value of a City Park System. Boston, MA: The Trust for Public Land, 2009.
The Economic Benefits of Land Conservation (2007)
This collection of papers includes original research and analysis from eight leading experts on the economic benefits of parks and conservation. Topics include the economic benefits of preserving watersheds, urban forests and farmland; the impact of parks on property taxes; and ways that parks and conservation help communities attract businesses and residents.
de Brun, Constance T.F., ed. The Economic Benefits of Land Conservation. Boston, MA: The Trust for Public Land, 2007.
Balancing Nature and Commerce in Gateway Communities (1997)
This book-length study analyzes the economic impact of federal and state public lands protection on gateway communities. It finds that policy change is only one of several factors that influenced a shift away from resources extraction and toward recreational tourism. It also discusses this shift’s implications for land conservation policy.
Howe, Jim, Ed McMahon, and Luther Propst. Balancing Nature and Commerce in Gateway Communities. Washington, DC: Island Press, 1997.
Western United States
West Is Best: How Public Lands in the West Create a Competitive Economic Advantage (2012)
This research report calculates the impact of popular national parks, monuments, wilderness areas, and other public lands on the development of the West’s economy. It highlights the role of the outdoor activities and recreation in attracting entrepreneurs and businesses.
Headwaters Economics. West Is Best: How Public Lands in the West Create a Competitive Economic Advantage. Bozeman MT: Headwaters Economics, 2012.
Headwaters Economics: The Value of Protected Lands
This webpage links to a rich collection of regional reports, case studies, tools, additional research, and news articles related to Headwaters Economics’ projects analyzing the value of western protected public lands.
Ray Rasker. “The Value of Protected Lands.” Headwaters Economics. Accessed May 1, 2013. http://headwaterseconomics.org/land/reports/protected-lands-value/.
National Treasures as Economic Engines: The Economic Impact of Visitor Spending in California’s National Parks (no date)
This report examines the economic impact of visitor spending in 10 national park sites in California. Visitors to these parks in 2001 spent a total of $643 million in the surrounding communities, supporting nearly 16,900 non-National Park Service jobs and generating more than $266 million in wages, salaries, and payroll benefits.
National Parks Conservation Association, Pacific Office. National Treasures as Economic Engines: The Economic Impact of Visitor Spending in California’s National Parks. San Francisco, CA: National Parks Conservation Association, n.d.
The Economic Benefits of Denver’s Park and Recreation System (2010)
This study of the Denver’s park system shows that it generates considerable economic value for both local government and residents. According to this detailed analysis, Denver’s parks provide the city with $7.1 million in revenue, produce municipal savings of $3.6 million and resident savings of $517 million, and add $48.7 million to residents’ collective wealth.
The Trust for Public Land, Center for City Park Excellence. “The Economic Benefits of Denver’s Park and Recreation System.” Report prepared for the City and County of Denver (2010).
A Return on Investment: The Economic Value of Colorado’s Conservation Easements (2010)
Researchers find that a $595 million investment in conservation easements returned $3.51 billion in public benefits. Some of the measurable benefits that result from permanently protected, privately owned land include: water supply protection; scenic views; flood control; fish and wildlife habitat; recreation (hunting, fishing, hiking, wildlife watching, etc.); aesthetics; carbon sequestration; dilution of waste water; erosion control; and agricultural crop production.
Sargent-Michaud, Jessica. A Return on Investment: The Economic Value of Colorado’s Conservation Easements. Boston, MA: The Trust for Public Land, 2010.
How Much Value Does the City of Wilmington Receive from its Park and Recreation System? (2009)
This research study explores the economic value of the parks and park programs of the city of Wilmington, Delaware. It finds that, in 2008, they provided residents with savings of $47.2 million and a collective increase of wealth of $11 million. In addition, parks and recreation provided the city’s government with revenues of $1.36 million and municipal savings of $448,000.
The Trust for Public Land, Center for City Park Excellence. How Much Value Does the City of Wilmington Receive from Its Park and Recreation System? Boston, MA: The Trust for Public Land, 2009.
Capitalization and Proximity to Agricultural and Natural Lands: Evidence from Delaware (2012)
This study confirms previous results showing that the protection of agricultural and natural lands increases the value of neighboring properties. Surprisingly, the study also demonstrates that open spaces unprotected from development have no distinguishable effect on property values.
Borchers, Allison M., and Joshua M. Duke. “Capitalization and Proximity to Agricultural and Natural Lands: Evidence from Delaware.” Journal of Environmental Management 99 (2012): 110-117.
Economic Benefits of Land Conservation: A Case for Florida Forever (2009)
This brief report compiles a substantial body of research on the economy and its direct link to conservation in Florida, as an introduction to the economics of land conservation within the state.
The Nature Conservancy. Economic Benefits of Land Conservation: A Case for Florida Forever. Tallahassee, FL: The Nature Conservancy, 2009.
Protecting Our Natural Heritage: The Value of Land Conservation in Georgia (2006)
Along with certain national examples, this review reports on the economic impact of Georgia’s natural heritage and land conservation within particular districts. Tallulah Gorge State Park, for example, attracted over 300,000 visitors in 2004, producing $69 million in tourist spending and supporting 930 jobs.
Madsen, Travis, Elizabeth Ridlington, and Jill Johnson. “Protecting Our Natural Heritage: The Value of Land Conservation in Georgia.” Report prepared for the Environment Georgia Research & Policy Center (2006).
Economic Impact of Local Park and Recreation Agencies in Illinois (2005)
The report evaluates the total contribution of Illinois parks to the state’s economy. By analyzing data on full- and part-time employment and agency spending, the report estimates the direct economic impact of parks at $1.64 billion annually. It also considers the multiplier effect of park spending and activities.
Economics Research Associates. Economic Impact of Local Park and Recreation Agencies in Illinois. Springfield, IL: Illinois Association of Park Districts, 2005.
Property Values, Recreation Values, and Urban Greenways (2004)
The impact of greenways on property values in Indianapolis, Indiana is measured in this study. It estimates the value of benefits and costs at $22.6 million and $3.9 million respectively, producing a net value of $18.6 million and a benefit-cost ratio of 5.7. Recreation values are also analyzed.
Lindsey, Greg, Joyce Man, Seth Payton, and Kelly Dickson. “Property Values, Recreation Values, and Urban Greenways.” Journal of Park and Recreation Administration 22, no. 3 (2004): 69-90.
The Value of Open Spaces in Residential Land Use (2002)
This article provides empirical results from Howard County, a rapidly developing part of Maryland, showing that permanent open space increases nearby residential land values more than three times as much as an equivalent amount of developable open space.
Geoghegan, Jacqueline. “The Value of Open Spaces in Residential Land Use.” Land Use Policy 19, no. 1 (2002): 91-98.
Open Space, Residential Property Values, and Spatial Context (2006)
This study confirms earlier research demonstrating that proximity to open space increases property values. It goes on to demonstrate that this effect is greater in neighborhoods that are densely populated; near the central business district; high-income or high-crime; or home to many children.
Anderson, Soren T., and Sarah E. West. “Open Space, Residential Property Values, and Spatial Context.” Regional Science and Urban Economics 36, no. 6 (2009): 773-789.
Managing Growth: The Impact of Conservation and Development on Property Taxes in New Hampshire (2005)
The association between development and high or low property taxes is investigated, and the report finds that, in the long-term, towns with the largest areas of permanently protected land generally have the lowest tax bills.
Brighton, Deborah. Managing Growth: The Impact of Conservation and Development on Property Taxes in New Hampshire. Boston, MA: The Trust for Public Land, 2005.
‘‘It Was Tourism Repellent, That’s What We Were Spraying’’: Natural Amenities, Environmental Stigma, and Redevelopment in a Postindustrial Mill Town (2012)
Using a case study in Coos County, New Hampshire, this study analyzes the effects of long-term environmental harm and decay. The authors argue that the environmental stigma of polluted lands presents real obstacles to redevelopment, especially where recreational tourism is involved.
Colocousis, Chris R. “’It Was Tourism Repellent, That’s What We Were Spraying’: Natural Amenities, Environmental Stigma, and Redevelopment in a Postindustrial Mill Town.” Sociological Forum 27, no. 3 (2012): 756-776.
The Economic Value of New Jersey State Parks and Forests (2004)
This detailed analysis finds that every $42 spent by the New Jersey State Park Service produces $110 in economic activities (such as sales), and directly supports 668 non-Service jobs. The study also analyzes the value of recreational uses, ecosystem services, and property value impacts.
Mates, William J., and Jorge L. Reyes. “The Economic Value of New Jersey State Parks and Forests.” Report prepared for the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, Division of Science, Research, and Technology (2004).
The Economic Benefits of Southern New Mexico’s Natural Assets (2010)
A sustained effort to protect wildlife, increase outdoor recreation, and restore watersheds and forests is examined. The report finds that outdoor recreation alone generates $2.75 billion in retail sales in 2006, and hunting, fishing, and other outdoor recreation activities sustain 47,000 jobs and generate more than $184 million in yearly sales tax revenue.
Headwaters Economics. The Economic Benefits of Southern New Mexico’s Natural Assets: How Conservation and Restoration Can Improve the Region’s Quality of Life and Long-Term Economic Health. Santa Fe, NM: Audubon New Mexico, 2010.
The Economic Benefits and Fiscal Impact of Parks and Open Space in Nassau and Suffolk Counties, New York (2010)
This economic analysis concludes that Long Island’s parks and open spaces provide a $2.74 billion annual economic benefit to local governments and taxpayers. Additionally, the conservation of Long Island parks and open spaces is eight times less costly than new residential development.
The Trust for Public Land. The Economic Benefits and Fiscal Impact of Parks and Open Space in Nassau and Suffolk Counties, New York. Boston, MA: The Trust for Public Land, 2010.
Economic Benefits of Land Conservation: North Carolina 2009 (2010)
This online factsheet summarizes the economic benefits of land conservation in eight different categories: tourism; hunting and fishing; outdoor recreation; military readiness; agriculture and forestry; retiree communities; storm damage protection; and health.
Land for Tomorrow. “Economic Benefits of Land Conservation: North Carolina 2009.” The Nature Conservancy. 2010. http://www.nature.org/ourinitiatives/regions/northamerica/
North Carolina’s Return on the Investment in Land Conservation (2011)
This report analyzes the past and likely future economic returns generated from Conservation Trust Funds land acquisition spending, and finds that every $1 invested returns $4 in overall economic value.
The Trust for Public Land. North Carolina’s Return on the Investment in Land Conservation. Boston, MA: The Trust for Public Land, 2011.
The Economic and Employment Impacts of Forest and Watershed Restoration (2013)
This article describes the policy context of a sustained forest and watershed restoration program in Oregon, and reports on three related studies on its market structure and resulting economic impacts. In addition to approximately 16 jobs supported per million dollars invested, the restoration program has created new local organizational capacity and business opportunities.
Nielsen‐Pincus, Max, and Cassandra Moseley. “The Economic and Employment Impacts of Forest and Watershed Restoration.” Restoration Ecology 21, no. 2 (2012): 207-214.
Measuring the Economic Impact of Green Space in Pittsburgh (2010)
This research report evaluates the possible benefits of turning dilapidated housing into parks and spaces for residents. It finds that Pittsburgh parks create a “green premium” in housing prices which ranges from $23,440 and $45,160, with larger parks producing larger increases. It also calculates that replacing one acre of multi-unit attached housing with one acre of unmanaged green space will reduce stormwater management costs by about $740 per acre.
Aiello, Daniel, Namho Kwon, Nelson Cheung Seok Ho Lee, Amy Chow, Arken Utenov, Kujo Cofie-Godwin, and Elizabeth Wantz. Measuring the Economic Impact of Green Space in Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh, PA: Heinz College of Public Policy and Management, Carnegie Mellon University, 2010.
Pennsylvania Wilds Program Evaluation Report (2010)
The State of Pennsylvania established a program to develop the tourism industry in 12 economically distressed counties. According to this five-year assessment, the program helped the region outgrow the rest of the Commonwealth in number of overnight leisure stays, visitor spending, tourism employment, and tourism earnings.
Econsult Corporation. “Pennsylvania Wilds Initiative: Program Evaluation.” Report prepared for the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (2010).
Return on Environment: The Economic Value of Protected Open Space in Southeastern Pennsylvania (2010)
This analysis finds that the region’s protected land adds $16.3 billion to the value of housing stock; generates $240 million annually in property tax revenues; provides environmental services (such as flood mitigation) worth $115 million annually; and reduces yearly health-related costs by $1.3 billion.
Economy League of Greater Philadelphia, Econsult Corporation, and Keystone Conservation Trust. “Return on Environment: The Economic Value of Protected Open Space in Southeastern Pennsylvania.” Report prepared for the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission and the GreenSpace Alliance (2010).
How Much Value Does the City of Philadelphia Receive from its Park and Recreation System? (2008)
In this study, the Center for City Park Excellence documents the economic value of Philadelphia’s parks and park programs. Annually, parks supply city government with $16 million in cost savings and $23 million in revenues, while providing citizens with a wealth increase of $729 million and cost savings of $1.1 billion.
The Trust for Public Land, Center for City Park Excellence. How Much Value Does the City of Philadelphia Receive from Its Park and Recreation System? Boston, MA: The Trust for Public Land, 2008.
Determining Economic Benefits of Park Trails: Management Implications (2010)
This study analyzes the economic value park visitors place on trail facilities and services at a South Carolina state park. The estimated economic benefit of the management and maintenance of park trails is $4.76 USD per visit, with 95% confidence intervals between $3.81 and $5.71.
Oh, Chi-Ok, and William E. Hammitt. “Determining Economic Benefits of Park Trails: Management Implications.” Journal of Park and Recreation Administration 28, no. 2 (2010): 94-107.
The Economic Benefits of Seattle’s Park and Recreation System (2011)
This study of the city’s park system shows that it generates considerable economic value for both local government and residents. According to a detailed analysis, Seattle’s parks deliver annual municipal revenue of $19.2 million, municipal savings of $12.4 million, resident savings of $511.6 million, and a collective increase in residents’ wealth of $110.8 million.
The Trust for Public Land, Center for City Park Excellence. The Economic Benefits of Seattle’s Park and Recreation System. Boston, MA: The Trust for Public Land, 2011.
SPECIFIC RESEARCH TOPICS
Reduction of Environmental Costs
An Integrated Monitoring/Modeling Framework for Assessing Human-Nature Interactions in Urbanizing Watersheds: Wappinger and Onondaga Creek Watersheds, New York, USA (2012)
This article describes a software “toolbox” which can model various urbanization patterns and predict their impacts. Applying this software to two New York State catchment areas, researchers demonstrate that increases in new housing permits and impervious surface areas create flashier streamflow and poor stream condition, and that these effects worsen when forest land is developed. The toolbox can be downloaded here.
Hong, Bongghi, et al. “An Integrated Monitoring/Modeling Framework for Assessing Human-Nature Interactions in Urbanizing Watersheds.” Environmental Modeling & Software 32 (2012): 1-15.
Natural Enemy Responses and Pest Control: Importance of Local Vegetation (2010)
In a study of 61 vineyards, researchers find that woody vegetation nearby significantly increases the abundance of different groups of natural enemies that prey on agricultural pests. This broader range of predators and parasitoids increases predation and control of common pest species.
Thomson, Linda J., and Ary A. Hoffman. “Natural Enemy Responses and Pest Control: Importance of Local Vegetation.” Biological Control 52, no. 2 (2010): 160-166.
Trends in Nature-Based Tourism
A Global Perspective on Trends in Nature-Based Tourism (2009)
This study examines visitor numbers at 280 protected areas (PAs) in 20 countries. PA visitation is declining in the United States and Japan, but it is generally increasing elsewhere. The patterns of its growth and decline suggest that nature-based recreation is still desirable globally, but international tourism is shifting away from destinations in richer countries.
Balmford, Andrew, et al. “A Global Perspective on Trends in Nature-Based Tourism.” PLoS Biology 7, no. 6 (2009): 1-6.
A Nationwide Production Analysis of State Park Attendance in the United States (2012)
According to this study, state parks’ annual utilization rate began to trend toward excess capacity in 1991. Adding facilities that broaden public appeal (i.e., a recreation orientation) has little impact on utilization capacities, but an orientation toward public-lands preservation correlates significantly to higher utilization rates.
Siderelis, Christos, et al. “A Nationwide Production Analysis of State Park Attendance in the United States.” Journal of Environmental Management 99 (2012): 18-26.