The Private Value of Public Open Space Within Subdivisions

Peiser, Richard B., & Schwann, Gregory M.

Peiser, R., & Schwann, G. (1993). THE PRIVATE VALUE OF PUBLIC OPEN SPACE WITHIN SUBDIVISIONS. Journal of Architectural and Planning Research, 10(2), 91-104.


Since the early 1900's when internal open spaces became common features of English new towns and American subdivisions patterned after Radburn, planners have assumed that internal parks are desirable features in subdivision planning. However, developers in the United States have in general failed to include open spaces within new subdivisions, thus raising questions about their real economic benefits. This paper examines those benefits within the context of a Radburn-style subdivision in Dallas. Using survey and sales data, the results indicate that homeowners value the open space - both those who live directly on the internal greenbelts and those who do not. However, where the open space causes a reduction in private backyard space, homeowners do not appear to value public open space as highly as private space.

Main finding
The study found that greenways clearly contribute to a strong subdivision identity. The survey results indicated that a majority of residents - those who lived on or off the greenways - valued the greenways as a recreational amenity despite the minor concern about crime from the homeowners on the greenways. On the other hand, the econometric evidence suggests that homeowners place little monetary value on greenways when making their home purchase highlighting the tradeoff between private and public open space.

Description of method used in the article
The study was conducted in Greenway Parks, a Radburn style residential subdivision, in Dallas, TX. The study combined open space valuation with survey of residents.

Policy implications

Organising categories

Other or N/A
Spatial Methods Survey
Urban Planning
Physical types
Geographic locations