[Date Prev][Date Next][Date Index]

E-M:/ LPI Releases Summary of Green Infrastructure Studies




March 7, 2008




Catharine Hansford, Michigan State University Land Policy Institute

517.432.8800 Ext. 111/hansford@landpolicy.msu.edu


Yohannes Hailu, Michigan State University Land Policy Institute

517.432.8800 Ext. 112/yhailu@landpolicy.msu.edu 


Maggie Striz Calnin, Heart of the Lakes Center for Land Conservation Policy






East LansingThe Land Policy Institute at Michigan State University (MSU) released today its final report on green infrastructure in Michigan. The comprehensive report, summarizing the results of three recently completed studies related to natural resource valuation, natural resource impact analysis and natural resource conservation funding, shows the significant value of water resources and green infrastructure assets, the tax benefits to local government due to those assets, the significant economic impact of parks, and that Michigan ranks 47th in the nation in its per capita spending on natural resource conservation.


The first study in the report looked at green infrastructure valuation in Hillsdale and Oakland Counties based on measuring the effect of natural features on property values. Properties in largely rural, agrarian Hillsdale County showed an 81.8 percent increase in property value or “green-capitalization” if within 16 yards (15 meters) of a water body, while a property within 164 yards (150 meters) is expected to gain 22.9 percent higher value than a similar property not near a water body.


In Oakland County, properties within 15 meters of water bodies have a 21.5 percent green-capitalization value. Properties close to recreational lands also gained value; 3.1 percent within 15 meters, 3.2 percent within 15 to 75 meters, 2.2 percent within 75 to 150 meters, and a 2.6 percent within 150 to 300 meters, compared to properties located at more than 450 meters. In the case of green infrastructure that offers walkability and bikeability in Oakland County, results indicate that the effects on property values were significant. Existence of these composite green assets within 100 to 500 meters appreciates property values by 4.6 percent, within 500 to 1000 meters by 2.3 percent; and within 1000 to 1500 meters by 6.3 percent. These findings highlight the property value implications of green infrastructure assets and the tax benefits to local government due to those assets.


The second study in the report looked at the economic impact of state parks in Michigan, by looking at Rifle River Recreational Area (RRRA) as a case study. The total annual economic impact of RRRA is estimated at $1,788,095 and it creates 37 jobs and an additional $933,003 in total value-added impacts per year. Considering that the park is only 4,450 acres in size, the estimated annual economic impacts are significant. Given than Michigan has numerous state parks, this study suggests that the economic contributions of those parks can not be taken for granted, especially in rural communities.


The third study in the report focused on conservation spending in the U.S. The study looked at how much states spend on natural resources and environmental programs and the factors that drive those spending levels. Findings of this study show that states vary widely in what they spend on natural resources and environmental protection. Surprisingly, the amount and variety of natural assets a state has does not play as significant a role as socioeconomic and political factors in these spending decisions. The results indicate that Michigan ranks 47th in the nation in its per capita spending on natural resource conservation. Even after discounting for its low economic performance and its political and socioeconomic structure, the study finds that Michigan still ranks even worse (48 out of 48). The gap between what Michigan spends and what it should spend given the framework for conservation spending is the largest in the nation. Coincidentally, many of the largest green spenders are among the best performing states.  


“The Land Policy Institute is spearheading a body of research to inform the public and policy makers on the role of green infrastructure in the transformation toward success in the New Economy,” said Dr. Soji Adelaja, LPI director and John A. Hannah Distinguished Professor in Land Policy at MSU. “The protection and conservation of our natural resources and maintaining a green infrastructure in Michigan’s communities will be key to attracting and keeping the knowledge-based workers we need to build prosperity.”


“Policymakers are looking for ways to make Michigan thrive in a changing economy. These findings offer direction on how to stimulate our economy by focusing on Michigan’s unique natural assets,” said Rachel Kuntzsch, executive director for Heart of the Lakes Center for Land Conservation Policy. “While the link between our pristine natural resources and the state’s economy is fairly intuitive, these studies help to quantify that economic connection. The results provide further support for reversing the current trend of de-funding our natural resource and environmental programs for both our quality of life and our economy.”


Click on ”Comprehensive Study on Economic Valuation, Economic Impact Assessment, and State Conservation Funding of Green Infrastructure Assets in Michigan” to download the report.