The Economic Value of Open Source: A Review and Synthesis
Communities increasingly face development pressures that can irreversibly alter open space lands. While the monetary costs and benefits of development are typically known, the corresponding values of natural lands are complex and difficult to measure. This paper reviews different concepts of economic value in relation to open space, describes methods for quantifying these values, and presents examples of each from published literature. Open space benefits accruing to citizens as market values or consumers’ surplus include market and enhancement values, production values, natural systems value, use and nonuse values, and various intangible values. Economic impacts that open space lands have on local communities and economies include fiscal impacts on municipal budgets, expenditures from open space-related activites, and impacts from employment and tax revenues. These values are not universally present within a given community, nor are they quanititatively additive. However, a comprehensive consideration of the mulitiple values of space will better inform community decisions about land conservation and development.