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Economics of Parks: Adjacent Property

In a series of posts, we will begin featuring excerpts from the recently released publication from TPL on measuring the economic value of city parks. In this first post, we look at the increased property values attributed to parks in Washington, D.C.:

The most famous park in Washington, D.C. may be the National Mall with its museums and government agencies, but it is the many other parks—from huge Rock Creek Park to tiny Logan Circle, the ones surrounded by homes—that provide the city with the greatest property value benefit.

The city’s abundance of green has placed much of Washington’s real estate either directly abutting or within a stone’s throw of a park. This makes it convenient for the capital’s denizens to toss a ball around, enjoy a picnic, or just get a pleasurable view. The city’s coffers are also reaping the benefits.

Getting to this number is fairly straightforward. Using GIS in combination with the city’s assessment data, we find that the value of all residential properties (apartments, condominiums, row houses, and detached homes) within 500 feet of a park is almost $24 billion (in 2006 dollars). Using an average park value benefit of 5 percent, we see that the total amount that parks increased property value is just under $1.2 billion. Using the effective annual tax rate of 0.58 percent, we find that Washington reaped an additional $6,953,377 in property tax because of parks in 2006.

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