“More than 100 years ago, Frederick Law Olmsted conducted a study of how parks help property values. From 1856 to 1873 he tracked the value of property immediately adjacent to Central Park, in order to justify the $13 million spent on its creation. He found that over the 17-year period there was a $209 million increase in the value of the property impacted by the park.” From Planning.org
When Texas finally got serious about wanting to prove that parks weren’t just nice to have around, but really added value to communities, they looked to Texas A&M professor John Crompton. Dr. Crompton produced the first Texas look at the economic impact of parks and green spaces in 2001. In 2014 the The Economic Contributions of Texas State Parks was revisited and updated so that it could be current as a tool to help the Texas Legislator understand the true value of parks.
Texas Children in Nature knows that parks go beyond dollars and cents, but the economic impact is deeply important. When children and families spend time playing outdoors, they are healthier. The health of a community also has and economic value. When children are healthy, parents miss less work, which increases the productivity of businesses. It also means fewer doctor bills and fewer insurance claims. All of which have value.
TCiN also understands that children who spend more time outside or have access to nature do better in school. A recent study conducted by Texas Audubon shows the direct link between spending time in nature and higher test scores. Children also demonstrate better problem solving skills, more creativity and better cooperation. These are all qualities that aid in children achieving a successful and thriving future, and that businesses are calling for in the work force today.
As the population of Texas continues to grow, the more reasons we can gather about why parks and green spaces are important will help make the case for purchasing more public lands. Texas currently only has about 3% public lands. That is not much when you consider Texas also has 6 of the largest cities by population in the US.
Frederick Law Olmsted knew parks and green spaces had economic value over 100 years ago. He also knew they had an even higher place in our social fabric- the intrinsic value that we each find when we spend time surrounded by a great wildness or in the intimate world of a pocket park.
Communicate with your elected officials and let them know you want to see more parks so all families can access to nature to be healthier, happier and smarter. Let them know that nature isn’t just a nice thing to have, it’s something we need to have. It is an investment in the community, and our future.
National Parks Economic Impact Study of Parks, Rivers and Trails