IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Development Patterns and the Recreation Value of Amenities


  • Kovacs, Kent F.
  • Larson, Douglas M.


Public open spaces around and within urban areas have been increasingly developed due to greater population pressures. My paper investigates if land around public open spaces is likely to get developed faster since households are attracted to the recreation value as well as the environmental amenities of the public open space. There has been inadequate attention in the literature to the influence of the different sources of value of open space on housing prices. While views of open space are certainly an important source of value to households, public open space is also valued because households enjoy recreation at the open space. Adopting the monocentric city model, simulations examine how the different sources of value of public open space influence the developed area, rent gradient and the development density of an urban area. The monocentric city model has residents competing for housing around a single central business district (CBD) while developers choose the density of development from the expected prices of the homes at that location in the city. Simulations of the closed city model result in equilibrium rent gradients for land and the housing, a utility level, and a city boundary. By referencing the monocentric city model with two-dimensional coordinates, Wu and Plantinga (2003) are able to more spatially explicitly examine the influence of amenities on the equilibrium state of the city. Amenities are shown to generate leap-frog development, influence the developed area of the city, the population density, rent gradients and location of different income groups. Although different shapes and areas of amenities are examined in their paper, there is no investigation of the proper proximity of these amenities to each other. Several small amenities dispersed far apart from each other in the city may result in less total amount of developed land than if there is only a single large amenity. Another reason that the proximity of amenities to each other matters is that the net benefits from recreation are influenced by the spatial arrangement of the amenities. Consumer´s surplus from recreation trips to the amenity is the net benefit of the amenity, with the price of a recreation trip including the travel cost to the amenity. The travel costs from recreation at amenities depend on how widely dispersed the amenities are in the city. While several amenities located widely throughout a city lower the travel costs of recreation, the city tends to diffuse more too resulting in a larger developed area. On the other hand, a single centrally located amenity contracts the city resulting in a smaller developed area although the travel costs of recreation rise slightly. Simulations from the model collect information on the aggregate amount of recreation trips, recreational net benefits, and the developed area. More localized benefits of amenities like nice views and cleaner air have a stronger influence on housing prices and development densities than the less localized benefits of amenities like recreation. If the travel costs for recreation are low, then only the localized benefits of amenities influence housing prices and development densities. However, if the demand for recreation and the travel costs to reach the amenity is high, the benefits of recreation have the potential to influence the housing prices and development densities in that area of the city. There are several potential solutions to the problem of recreation benefits of the amenities leading to the unwanted development of natural or agricultural land. The simplest solution is to regulate that no recreation take place at the amenity. Of course, the nice views and cleaner air may still draw development outward, and the enforcement of no recreation is necessary. Rather than prohibit recreation, raising user fees at recreation sites is a way to generate revenue for the city while simultaneously restraining sprawl. If the cost of travel to a recreation site is high, development is more likely near the site since households want the benefit of a trip without the high cost of travel to the site. If roads to the recreation site are improved to reduce the cost of travel, households will prefer to locate close to the central business district rather than the recreation site to reduce the cost of their daily commutes.

Suggested Citation

  • Kovacs, Kent F. & Larson, Douglas M., 2005. "Development Patterns and the Recreation Value of Amenities," 2005 Annual meeting, July 24-27, Providence, RI 19149, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:aaea05:19149
    DOI: 10.22004/ag.econ.19149

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Mitchell Polinsky, A. & Shavell, Steven, 1976. "Amenities and property values in a model of an urban area," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(1-2), pages 119-129.
    2. Leggett, Christopher G. & Bockstael, Nancy E., 2000. "Evidence of the Effects of Water Quality on Residential Land Prices," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 39(2), pages 121-144, March.
    3. Wu, JunJie & Plantinga, Andrew J., 2003. "The influence of public open space on urban spatial structure," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 288-309, September.
    4. Wile, John H., 1978. "Open spaces, revenue sharing, and urban structure," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(1), pages 88-100, January.
    5. Won Kim, Chong & Phipps, Tim T. & Anselin, Luc, 2003. "Measuring the benefits of air quality improvement: a spatial hedonic approach," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 45(1), pages 24-39, January.
    6. Lansford, Notie H., Jr. & Jones, Lonnie L., 1995. "Marginal Price Of Lake Recreation And Aesthetics: An Hedonic Approach," Journal of Agricultural and Applied Economics, Southern Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 27(1), pages 1-12, July.
    7. Doss, Cheryl R. & Taff, Steven J., 1996. "The Influence Of Wetland Type And Wetland Proximity On Residential Property Values," Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Western Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 21(1), pages 1-10, July.
    8. Alan Randall, 1994. "Difficulty with the Travel Cost Method," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 70(1), pages 88-96.
    9. Tyrvainen, Liisa & Miettinen, Antti, 2000. "Property Prices and Urban Forest Amenities," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 39(2), pages 205-223, March.
    10. JunJie Wu & Richard M. Adams & Andrew J. Plantinga, 2004. "Amenities in an Urban Equilibrium Model: Residential Development in Portland, Oregon," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 80(1), pages 19-32.
    11. Fujita, Masahisa & Kashiwadani, Masuo, 1989. "Testing the efficiency of urban spatial growth: A case study of Tokyo," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 156-192, March.
    12. Robert J. Johnston & RStephen K. Swallow & Dana Marie Bauer, 2002. "Spatial Factors and Stated Preference Values for Public Goods: Considerations for Rural Land Use," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 78(4), pages 481-500.
    13. Brian Roe & Elena G. Irwin & Hazel A. Morrow-Jones, 2004. "The Effects of Farmland, Farmland Preservation, and Other Neighborhood Amenities on Housing Values and Residential Growth," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 80(1), pages 55-75.
    14. Colwell, Peter F. & Dehring, Carolyn A. & Turnbull, Geoffrey K., 2002. "Recreation Demand and Residential Location," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(3), pages 418-428, May.
    15. Brent L. Mahan & BStephen Polasky & Richard M. Adams, 2000. "Valuing Urban Wetlands: A Property Price Approach," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 76(1), pages 100-113.
    16. Elizabeth Marshall, 2004. "Open-Space Amenities, Interacting Agents, and Equilibrium Landscape Structure," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 80(2), pages 272-293.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    Public Economics;


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ags:aaea05:19149. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (AgEcon Search). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.