Susan Wachter ACT Presentation 2010


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Susan Wachter ACT Presentation 2010

  1. 1. Revitalizing Communities with Trees and Green Space<br />Alliance for Community Trees Annual Meeting & Member Rally<br />November 8, 2010<br />Philadelphia, PA<br />Susan M. Wachter<br />Richard B. Worley Professor of Financial Management<br />Co-Director, Penn Institute for Urban Research<br />The Wharton School<br />University of Pennsylvania<br />
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  4. 4. Objective: Creating communities of lasting value<br />From blight to hope<br />Quality of life for families<br />Neighborhoods with parks and green space encourage community interaction, create safe spaces, bring nature to the city, reduce social isolation, and promote healthy living<br />A work in progress: learning and resources<br />
  5. 5. Parks in Perspective<br />Fostering communities that are environmentally sustainable<br />Economically strong and equitable<br />Six principles of sustainable communities :<br />increased transportation choices <br />increased equitability<br />increased economic competitiveness<br />support for existing communities<br />leveraging of federal investment<br />value of communities and neighborhoods<br />
  6. 6. Penn Institute for Urban Research <br />City in the 21st Century Series: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2008<br /><br /><br /><ul><li>“Green Investment Strategies: How They Matter for Urban Neighborhoods” – Susan Wachter, Kevin Gillen, and Carolyn Brown
  7. 7. “Transforming Through Greening” – J. Blaine Bonham Jr. and Patricia Smith</li></li></ul><li>Parkland in Philadelphia: Four Scales<br />Regional parks<br />National resources<br />Citywide parks<br />Civic space<br />Pocket parks and Neighborhood parks<br />Local amenity<br />
  8. 8. Schuylkill River Trail Master Plan<br />Trail as catalyst for urban revitalization<br />
  9. 9. Natural Landscapes<br />Poquessing<br />Creek Park<br />Wissahickon<br />Valley <br />Park<br />Tacony Creek Park<br />Pennypack Park<br />Fairmount<br />(East/West) <br />Park<br />Cobbs<br />Creek <br />Park<br />Fairmount Park System<br />FDR <br />Park<br />
  10. 10. Clark Park University City, West Philadelphia<br />
  11. 11. Philadelphia’s Challenges<br />Vacant Residential Structures in 2001<br />10.6% vacancy rate<br />
  12. 12. Philadelphia’s Challenges<br />
  13. 13. PHS/NTI Green City Strategy<br />Transform Philadelphia neighborhoods by managing our vacant land and improving <br />our open spaces.<br />
  14. 14. Why the Study?<br /><ul><li>Need to quantify impact of policy
  15. 15. Deficit in hard data
  16. 16. Provide evidence as a tool for advocating for good policy
  17. 17. Problem and potential: how to realize the enormous benefits of reinvesting in blighted lands
  18. 18. Private spaces: individuals respond with their own decisions and actions
  19. 19. Public spaces: require shared governance and citizen stewardship for community action and public/private cooperation</li></li></ul><li> Quantification Methods<br /><ul><li>Data on house sales and location of greening investment from City and Pennsylvania Horticultural Society
  20. 20. Event study - before and after investment impact on house prices, controlling for variables
  21. 21. Innovative spatial econometric methods - developed at Wharton’s Geographic Information Systems Lab</li></li></ul><li>Multivariate Hedonic Regression Analysis<br />With the first 3 interactive terms measuring the effects of proximity to greenspace, then the estimated regression results are:<br />More than 30 variables are in the regression specification including: building and lot square footage, number of stories and fireplaces, garage, central air, type and condition of exterior, year of sale, census tract, distance to CBD (City Hall), and number of years since last transaction.<br />Adj. R2=0.60<br />N=70,000<br />This regression only used data from 2000-2005. Similar regressions using data from 1980-2005 used over 200,000 sales records in the estimation.<br />
  22. 22. Vacant land management<br />Transition from abandonment to clean & green<br />Adjacency to a neglected vacant lot subtracts 20% of value <br />Stabilizing lots impart an additional 17% of value to surrounding homes<br />
  23. 23. Neighborhood greening<br />Tree plantings, streetscapes -- container plantings, small pocket parks<br />Overall increase in house prices of 9% <br />28% gain in value <br />
  24. 24. Impact of Public Investments<br />
  25. 25. The visual and psychological impact of even the simplest of streetscape improvements, such as planting a tree or installing a sign, makes a huge impact on creating a quality environment and defining a place. There is no question that streetscape improvements increase housing values and make the public environment more appealing.<br />– Nancy Goldenberg<br />Vice President of Planning<br />Center City District<br />
  26. 26. Green-city Strategies and Neighborhood Value <br />The studies<br />Wachter, Susan M; and Wong, Grace, “What is a Tree Worth? Green-City Strategies and Housing Prices”, Real Estate Economics, Vol. 36, No. 2, 2008. Available at SSRN:<br />Wachter, Susan; Kevin Gillen; and Carolyn Brown, “Green Investment Strategies: A Positive Force in Cities”, Communities & Banking, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, Spring 2008. Available at:<br />Wachter, Susan M; Kevin Gillen; and Carolyn Brown, “Green Investment Strategies: How They Matter for Urban Neighborhoods”, Growing Greener Cities, Ed. Eugenie L. Birch and Susan M. Wachter. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press (, 2008. pp. 316 – 325.<br />
  27. 27. Public/Private Partnershipsto Conserve and Improve Community Assets<br /><ul><li>Problem and potential: how to realize the enormous benefits of reinvesting in blighted lands
  28. 28. Private spaces: individuals respond with their own decisions and actions
  29. 29. Public spaces: require shared governance and citizen stewardship for community action and public/private cooperation</li></li></ul><li>Empirical strategy: trees <br />All single-family house sales in Philadelphia <br />Housing characteristics<br />Exact locations of house and tree plantings<br />Exploit the variation in time & location of housing sales relative to those of tree plantings<br />
  30. 30. Fairmount Tree Plantings Between Salescontrolling for tract-specific linear price trends<br />
  31. 31. Large Trees and Crime<br />Their study -- which is posted online in advance of its appearance in a forthcoming printed issue of the journal Environment and Behavior -- is the first to examine the effects of trees and other factors on crime occurrence in Portland, Ore.<br />"We wanted to find out whether trees, which provide a range of other benefits, could improve quality of life in Portland by reducing crime, and it was exciting to see that they did," said Geoffrey Donovan, research forester with the PNW Research Station who led the study. "Although a burglar alarm may deter criminals, it won't provide shade on a hot summer day, and it certainly isn't as nice to look at as a tree."<br />Donovan and his colleague Jeffrey Prestemon, with the Southern Research Station, obtained crime data from the Portland Police Bureau from 2005 to 2007 and grouped the incidents into seven categories. They examined only crimes for which a physical address was given and paired this information with additional data obtained from aerial photographs, onsite visits, and the Multnomah County Tax Assessor's Office. Their sample of 2,813 single-family homes experienced 394 property and 37 violent crimes.<br />
  32. 32. Learning How to do this: Work in Progress<br />Overarching Questions: <br />How does the transformation occur?<br /> From blight to [?]<br />Side lots<br />Community gardens<br />Open space (parks)<br />Local farming<br />Implementation Questions:<br />Economic development and land disposition?<br />Land purchase or guerilla gardens?<br />Who is to maintain?<br />Providing for an evolving future?<br />But we do know that going from blight to green works! <br />
  33. 33. Thank You<br />Susan M. Wachter<br />Richard B. Worley Professor of Financial Management<br />Professor of Real Estate and Finance <br />The Wharton School<br />University of Pennsylvania<br /><br />
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  40. 40. Schuylkill River Trail Master Plan<br />
  41. 41. Schuylkill River Trail Master Plan<br />
  42. 42. Schuylkill River Trail Master Plan<br />
  43. 43. Schuylkill River Trail Master Plan<br />