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The article in question addresses the correlation between the value of property prices and the proximity of open spaces. In particular, Neumann et al. examine the association between property value and the proximity of the Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) located in Massachusetts (1011). The authors address two research questions, investigating the possibility of a correlation between the proximity of the NWR and property price premiums. The researchers also examine the extent to which property prices correlate with the proximity of other types of open spaces such as recreational parks, agricultural land, golf courses, conservation land, and cemeteries. An underlying problem (associated with both economic and environmental issues) is related to views regarding taxation. Some believe that the commercial use of open spaces could increase tax revenues, which could lead to a dramatic decrease in the area of NWR lands.
Employing the quantitative research method, Neumann et al. use a semi-log linear specification to address the research questions (1013). The dependent variable is the sale price natural log. For the purpose of open space measurements, the researchers use diversity and distance indices, also applying the hedonic method to examine the correlation between property price values and open space proximity. In this study, the researchers assume that residential property prices have been affected by the proximity of open spaces. Importantly, different types of open spaces correlate differently to the prices.
Summary of Results
The researchers found a distinct association between property prices and the proximity of open spaces. Neumann et al. discovered that property situated within 100 meters of the NWR had a price premium of almost a thousand dollars compared to residential units located farther than 100 meters away (1011). The price value associated with NWR proximity was larger than that of the proximity of cemeteries, as well as agricultural and conservation lands. The values found in proximity to the NWR, golf courses, and recreational parks were similar. Such findings confirm the authors’ assumptions and are consistent with existing research. People tend to prefer living close to open spaces, and this drives the growth of property prices.
As mentioned, US taxation presents a problem in this scenario. Although NWRs provide certain funds to the budget, some view this kind of revenue-collecting policy ineffective, claiming that open spaces should pay similar taxes to those paid by the owners of commercial spaces. In spite of this problem, Neumann et al. stress that the findings of their study indicate the proximity of open spaces of certain types increases property price values, resulting in significant tax revenues for the adjacent communities. In simple terms, communities receive higher tax revenues even though open spaces render less money in taxes (1011). Thus, the study results can be used in making policy. Policymakers can refer to the research as evidence supporting smaller taxes for open spaces. These lands often have limited resources, and increased taxes or fees could undermine their proper functioning or maintenance.
The article under analysis provides valuable insights into the role open spaces can play in property price formation. The findings can also be used to develop policies aimed at any increase in public spaces and such open spaces as NWRs. The major contribution of this paper is associated with providing evidence of the specific economic relevance of public spaces that have traditionally been linked to financial losses rather than benefits. The primary strength of the study is its use of sound tools for assessing property price values. However, the research is characterized by a significant weakness as the authors chose only one geographic location for their study. The map provided in the article shows clearly that different types of open spaces are located at similar distances to residential areas. Therefore, the value of the NWR might be overestimated as the proximity of golf courses and recreational zones could be the primary factors affecting property prices. Irrespective of this limitation, the study is relevant as the authors use effective instruments that can be used in other settings.
The authors’ assumptions are supported by the findings of their study as well as evidence collected in previous research. The authors established clear objectives and fully addressed the research questions. As for the overall presentation of the results, the authors provide sufficient details that enable other researchers to duplicate the study. The paper is clear and concise, and the use of graphs and tables is appropriate. All these features make the article convincing and relevant. Further studies could examine the possible correlation between the proximity of open spaces and property prices in other states. Importantly, researchers should make sure that the spaces they compare are far from each other. It could also be effective to use qualitative methods to explore price values, revealing people’s attitudes about different types of open spaces. The methods used in the article can help students to implement their studies and can contribute to the knowledge base for various environmental and economic issues.
Neumann, Bradley C., et al. “Property Price Effects of a National Wildlife Refuge: Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge in Massachusetts.” Land Use Policy, vol. 26, no. 4, 2009, pp.1011-1019.