What is a Tree Worth? Green-City Strategies, Signaling and Housing Prices
27 Pages Posted: 8 May 2008
We investigate the correlation between curbside tree plantings and housing price movements in Philadelphia from 1998 to 2003, comparing two programs, one by the Philadelphia Horticultural Society (PHS) that requires block-group effort that focuses on low-income neighborhoods and the other by the Fairmount Park Commission that is individual-based without specific target areas. A 7 to 11% price differential is identified within 4,000 feet of the Fairmount tree plantings. We argue that this is largely driven by either social capital creation or a signaling mechanism, on top of an intrinsic tree value (around 2%). Findings using the PHS tree program suggest that development of social capital or environmentally conscious behavior might be a less important channel. Any positive changes brought by the PHS tree plantings were not detected with sufficient statistical power.
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