Public Benefits of Undeveloped Lands on Urban Outskirts: Non-Market Valuation Studies and Their Role in Land Use Plans
30 Pages Posted: 1 Jun 2007
Date Written: January 2007
Over the past three decades, the economics profession has developed methods for estimating the public benefits of green spaces, providing an opportunity to incorporate such information into land-use planning. While federal regulations routinely require such estimates for major regulations, the extent to which they are used in local land use plans is not clear. This paper reviews the literature on public values for lands on urban outskirts, not just to survey their methods or empirical findings, but to evaluate the role they have played - or have the potential to play in actual land use plans.
Based on interviews with authors and representatives of funding agencies and local land trusts, it appears that academic work has had a mixed reception in the policy world. Reasons for this include a lack of interest in making academic work accessible to policy makers, emphasizing revealed preference methods which are inconsistent with policy priorities related to nonuse values, and emphasis on benefit-cost analyses. Nevertheless, there are examples of success stories that illustrate how such information can play a vital role in the design of conservation policies.
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