Parks and economic development Academic Article uri icon


  • As contributors to the local economy, parks and open spaces are equal to roads, utilities, and other infrastructure elements. The cost of investing in these elements is justified by the economic value that derives from their availability. Unfortunately, many growing communities lack the foresight to set aside land for inclusion in a parks system in the same way as they do for other infrastructure elements. They frequently claim that resources are not available for what they regard as a discretionary investment. And in many built-out communities, vacant land is seen as a precious resource that needs to be developed to grow the tax base rather than as an opportunity to provide open space and park resources. The first chapter in this report recognizes that the economic contributions of parks and open space currently are not widely recognized or understood by taxpayers or elected officials. To rectify this situation, a strategy based on the concept of repositioning is suggested. The other chapters are concerned with two ways to measure the economic value of parks and recreation. The first way, described in Chapter 2, captures the capitalization worth of parks by measuring their impact on the value of land and property in their immediate catchment zone. The second type of measure is the economic value derived from visitors (Chapter 3), businesses (Chapter 4), and retirees (Chapter 5) whose decisions to come to the area are at least in part predicated on the availability of parks and recreation opportunities.

published proceedings

  • APA Planning Advisory Service Reports

author list (cited authors)

  • Crompton, J. L.

complete list of authors

  • Crompton, JL

publication date

  • December 2001