Urban parks are one of the most essential areas of cities, and their role in the lives of city dwellers has evolved. This role has spanned anything from providing relaxation to acting as a mediator between humans and nature. (Sadeghian & Vardanyan,2013). As people continue to migrate to cities, the importance of green infrastructure planning has caught scientists in designing sustainable communities. (Jones & al., 2015). Moreover, cities and residents are becoming more conscious of the importance of urban parks in ensuring the economic, environmental, and social welfare of their communities; therefore, by estimating the monetary value of the benefits provided by green areas such as urban parks, gardens, and other green spaces will motivate city officials to communicate significant information for the planning of urban parks and prioritize their maintenance. (Olbińska, 2018). In this case, I’ll attempt to estimate the value of the Westsyde Centennial Park by valuing the houses that surround the park; as it was proven by scientists that people are willing to pay a higher price for renting or purchasing a house near green areas.
The Westsyde Centennial Park is one of the multi-purpose and family-friendly parks in Kamloops BC. It is located along the west bank of the North Thompson River at the end of Franklin Road in Kamloops. The Westsyde Centennial Park occupies an area of 102,368m2 or 10.2ha (Kamloops CityMap, 2022). The park has plenty of amenities which include – a waterpark/splash park for younger children, and a fenced dog park area attached. This dog park is an off-leash area located on the NE side of the dyke only. It has a therapeutic Little Farmers Petting Zoo (located at the entrance of the park off of Franklin Road). It also has a skating rink for skateboard enthusiasts, three soccer fields, one slo-pitch diamond, a multi-purpose arena, a pump track, a playground for adults and kids, four picnic tables as well as two public washrooms for convenience. The park has free parking for visitors. (City of Kamloops, 2022)
Adjacent Areas refer to residential land areas around the park that share a direct border with the park. Close Areas refer to the residential land areas that are near the park but do not share a direct border with it. The data for this analysis was obtained from the BC Assessment registry (2022). The land values and several other statistics such as land values, building values, total value, year built, land size, land area in hectares, first and second-floor areas and basement finished area were all taken for 33 adjacent and close residential houses to the park. The areas were chosen such that an equal number of houses was considered from all sides of the parks. The choice of these areas is illustrated in Figure 2. This analysis transfers the values of the land that is adjacent to the urban park. The land values are assumed to be a result of the presence of the urban park.
The data in Table 1 is secondary data collected from BC Assessment (2021) on the variables such as the value of land and buildings, the year built, size and the value of land per ha around the Westsyde centennial park. The mean land value of properties adjacent to this park is $269,000 while the mean building value is $383,713 and the highest building is valued at $697,000. The mean land value per ha is over $3m. The area has very few new buildings. The oldest house was built in 1972 and the newest in 2021. The average year the houses around this park were built is 1986. This indicates that most building around the park is old. The average land value of land is $3.6m per ha which isn’t distant from the median land value of $3.5m.
Table 1. Descriptive statistics of 33 residential houses by Westsyde Centennial Park
|Size (in Ha)||0.0895||0.0824||0.0465||0.0572||0.0724||0.0951||0.5180|
|Land value per Ha||3,646,315||1,005,596||820,466||2,989,344||3,547,822||4,535,220||5,114,002|
The Westsyde Centennial Park occupies an estimated 10.2ha of land (Kamloops CityMap, 2022). The average land value per ha in the area is $3.65m. This means the land value of the park is $37,192,413. The current value of ecosystem services provided by Urban parks and forests is listed as about USD $ $109,503 /ha/year (ESVD,2020) at the current exchange rate this translates to CND 136,879 yields annual ecosystem services of $1,413,312 or a yield of 3.8% per year in ecosystem services. Using the Sutton and Anderson 5% rate of return per year, the park value would have a yield of $1,859,620 per year.
Discussion and conclusion
If the land area of the park is developed as residential properties with the current average land size of 0.09 hectares, the park size would have been able to accommodate approximately 114 houses benefiting 45 households. However, this converts the social benefits of green space into private benefits and would require community approval through a referendum since the community will lose a public good. Furthermore, since the park will be absent if developed, the property values could potentially decline in the absence of the park. Also, the houses built in the park require a lot of resources private and public, and the houses will yield service to the owners in terms of private returns, while the park provides ecosystem services to the community at large and requires few public resources at a much lower cost with social returns. In addition, the municipality would most likely sell the park at a lower price than $37.2 million and would have to find a public project that yields higher returns. Finding projects that yield more than 4-5% is very unlikely. Hence, such a sale is not recommended. It is also important to note that ecosystem services do not flow directly from natural capital to improve human well-being but result from complex interactions of human, social, natural, and built capital that improve well-being (Costanza et al. 2014). The social annual yield of 4-5% would be difficult to replicate with a conversion of the public park to private usage. The value residents derive from the interactions of all forms of capital makes the park much more valuable.
ArcGIS web application. (2022, April). Retrieved 9, from https://geoprodsvr.kamloops.ca/citymap/
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Jones, R., Symons, J., & Young, C. (2015). Assessing the Economic Value of Green Infrastructure: Green Paper.
Olbińska, K. (2018). The Value of Urban Parks in Lodz. Real Estate Management And Valuation, 26(1), 73-88. https://doi.org/10.2478/remav-2018-0007
Sadeghian, M. M., & Vardanyan, Z. (2013). The benefits of urban parks, a review of urban research. Journal of Novel Applied Sciences, 2(8), 231-237
ESVD. Esvd.net. (2022). Retrieved 13 March 2022, from https://www.esvd.net/esvd
Westsyde Centennial Park. (n.d.). City of Kamloops. https://www.kamloops.ca/recreation-culture/parks-sports-fields/westsyde-centennial-park