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Publications and Products

Title: Accounting for benefits and costs of urban greenspace

Authors: McPherson, E. Gregory

Date: 1992

Source Landscape and Urban Planning. 22(1): 41-51.


Urban greenspace provides many environmental and social services that contribute to the quality of life in cities. Economic approaches used to estimate value of greenspace services include travel cost, willingness to pay, hedonic pricing and tree valuation. These methods have limited utility for policy-makers, planners, and managers because the underlying values they estimate only indirectly reflect the flow of multiple benefits and costs. A greenspace accounting approach to partially address this deficiency is described using benefit-cost analysis for a proposed tree-planting project in Tucson. AZ. The approach directly connects vegetation structure with the spatial-temporal flow of functional benefits and costs. Prices are assigned to each cost (i.e. planting, pruning, removal, irrigation) and benefit (i.e. cooling energy savings, interception of particulates, stormwater runoff reduction) through direct estimation and implied valuation of benefits as environmental externalities. The approach can be used to evaluate net economic benefits associated with capital investments in urban forests vs. other investments in the urban infrastructure or traditional environmental control technologies.


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    McPherson, E. Gregory. 1992. Accounting for benefits and costs of urban greenspace. Landscape and Urban Planning. 22(1): 41-51.
Last Modified: December 4, 2020