Open spaces provide essential amenities to neighborhoods and local ecosystems. Whether it is a vacant residential lot or a public park, these spaces retain and filter stormwater, promote biodiversity, and improve the visual aesthetics of an area. When considering development plans and other policies that impact open spaces, local governments often lack critical information about the benefits that these areas provide to the community. By creating a model to describe the implicit economic value of these open spaces-which is also called a hedonic model-we can give policymakers better tools to evaluate development plans.
This project sought to use econometric methods to model the valuation of open spaces in James City County, Virginia. In order to create this hedonic model, we used the housing market to describe how homeowners value the amenity benefits provided by open space. In order to run a regression to see how housing prices capture the value of these amenities, we collected spatial and other descriptive data on residential parcels in the county using GIS and controlled for relevant explanatory variables. The result provided a useful model for describing valuation of open spaces. Future work will try to evaluate open space trading policies based upon their costs as defined by our model.
For additional documentation Andrew Waxman provided a PowerPoint Presentation entitled "Hedonic Modeling of Open Space in James City County" provided here in PDF form.