New research conducted in the UK suggests that people not only want more green spaces in their communities but are willing to pay for them, as well. Residents of two communities would be willing to pay up to the equivalent of $46.83 in American money per month, or nearly $564.00 per year, for community green spaces.
This is good news for community developers looking for ways to fund green spaces for their communities. The results suggest that developers hoping to capitalize on prime waterfront development might want to postpone that call to the construction equipment rental company, however.
Researchers from the University of Sheffield conducted surveys of residents of Manchester and Sheffield to determine how much people would agree to pay in additional taxes or housing costs for green spaces in their communities.
They discovered that not only were people willing to pay more for community green spaces, the amount they were willing to pay increased as the spaces became more heavily wooded.
Sheffield And Manchester
Citizens of Sheffield and Manchester were shown graphic proposals of various development projects that could be implemented in their areas and were asked how much additional money they would willingly pay for each proposal.
Residents of Whitworth Street in Manchester were willing to pay the equivalent of $2.29 additional each month to keep their street’s current state. They would pay the equivalent of an extra $2.52 per month for the addition of small ornamental trees. For large forest trees and a grass space, they would pay up to the equivalent of $3.65 extra per month.
Similarly, in Sheffield near Blonk Street, residents agreed to pay the equivalent of $6.69 more per month to maintain recent improvements that included a new footbridge, a riverside walkway and new flood defense projects.
They would be willing to pay the equivalent of $12.53 more per month for additional landscaping in the area, and they would pay the equivalent of a whopping $16.93 per month if the riverside was returned to its natural state and native vegetation was reestablished.
When residents were asked how much they would pay for various development scenarios in the Nursery Street area alongside the River Don in Sheffield, researchers discovered that the greener the planned development, the more people would willingly pay.
A scenario that would allow new development very close to the water’s edge was worth the equivalent of $6.06 to residents, while a plan that would create a green buffer between buildings and the river was valued at the equivalent of $10.77.
When developers proposed creating a large green space, residents were willing to pay the equivalent of an extra $45.74 per month.
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Funding for the project was provided by Interreg IVB North West Europe which is dedicated to promoting strong and prosperous communities. During the study, the University worked in cooperation with local policy makers including the South Yorkshire Forest Partnership and the Red Rose Forest, Greater Manchester´s Community Forest.
The study is part of the Valuing Attractive Landscapes in the Urban Economy (VALUE) project by South Yorkshire Forest Partnership, which is dedicated to demonstrating the economic value of community green spaces, in partnership with the University of Sheffield’s Urban River Corridors and Sustainable Living Agendas (URSULA) project.
Ursula receives funding from the British government through the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).
“The results of this research will be used to help to improve the design of green infrastructure investments so that they more closely meet the preferences of the local communities that use them,” said John Henneberry, a professor at the University of Sheffield’s Department of Town and Regional Planning
According to Tom Wild, who is the director of the South Yorkshire Forest Partnership. “This is great news and a really important piece of evidence.
This work proves that attractive, green landscapes really do help create the right setting for investment, to help deliver more sustainable jobs and growth. It couldn’t come at a better time, when we are all having to think more carefully about future priorities for what little funding is available.
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