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Economic Benefits of Open Space, Recreation Facilities and Walkable Community Design

Key Message

This research synthesis reviews research on the different ways that walkability, parks, and open spaces can bring economic benefits to a community.


Shoup, Lily, and Ewing, Reid. (2010). The Economic Benefits of Open Space, Recreation Facilities and Walkable Community Design. A Research Synthesis. Princeton, NJ: Active Living Research, a National Program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.


There is evidence that walkable neighborhoods and parks and open spaces can improve physical activity levels. The economic impact of these attributes can play an important role in policy makers’ decisions about zoning, restrictions on land-uses, government purchase of lands for parks and similar initiatives.
This research synthesis reviews the sizable body of peer-reviewed and independent reports on the economic value of outdoor recreation facilities, open spaces and walkable community design. It focuses on “private” benefits that accrue to nearby homeowners and to other users of open space.


  • Walkable neighborhoods, parks and open spaces can generate economic benefits to local governments, home owners and businesses through increasing property values and related property tax revenues.
  • Open spaces such as parks and recreation areas can have a positive effect on nearby residential property values, and can lead to proportionately higher property tax revenues for local governments.
  • Compact, walkable developments can provide economic benefits to real estate developers through higher home sale prices, enhanced marketability and faster sales or leases than conventional development.

Benefit Statements / Outcomes

Leadership Provided By:

  • Leisure Information Network (LIN)
  • Alberta Recreation and Parks Association

On Behalf Of:

  • Canadian Parks and Recreation Association (CPRAA)

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