The Economic Valuation of Urban Ecosystem Services

13 Pages Posted: 1 Jul 2011

Date Written: June 1, 2011


The economic valuation of ecosystem services in cities often relies on the concept of willingness to pay. Such reliance invariably leads to the adoption of methods that have several inherent limitations. The object of this paper is to present both a conceptual and methodological framework within which valuation could proceed. The conceptual premise rests on the principle that several ecosystem services cannot be compromised if the urban economy is to be sustainable. Hence methodologically, the valuation of such services could be approached by recourse to the opportunity cost concept, namely the levels of income that need to be sacrificed in order to retain the sustainability of the urban economy. In the long-run the enhanced productivity and sustainability of the urban systems would offset the short-run losses which are incorrectly magnified.

Suggested Citation

Thampapillai, Dodo Jesuthason, The Economic Valuation of Urban Ecosystem Services (June 1, 2011). Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy Research Paper No. LKYSPP11-03. Available at SSRN: or

Dodo Jesuthason Thampapillai (Contact Author)

Crawford School of Public Policy ( email )

ANU College of Asia and the Pacific
J.G. Crawford Building, #132, Lennox Crossing
Canberra, Australian Capital Territory 0200

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