by J Saphores, W Li
Landscape and Urban Planning 104:373-3872012
This study looked at how residents of Los Angeles value urban trees and other urban green around their homes. Sales of single-family houses were studied for two years (2003-2004) to assess the extent to which trees, irrigated grass, and unirrigated grass—at both the parcel level and the neighborhood level—affected sales prices. Two different statistical models were used to address spatial autocorrelation and unobserved characteristics (a geographically weighted regression model and a Cliff-Ord model). The results indicate that irrigated lawns do more than trees to increase property values. Nearly all properties would increase in value if more lawn were present, either on the parcel or in the neighborhood. In contrast, only 60% of properties would see an increase in value if more trees were planted on the parcel and that increase would be small. More trees at the neighborhood scale, however, would increase the value of nearly all properties. These results indicate a challenge for Los Angeles, as the City is attempting to both reduce areas of irrigated grass and carry out an ambitious tree planting program, mainly on private property.