Growing More Than Greens
As seeds begin to sprout this spring in New York City’s community gardens, these plots may actually be growing more than fruits and vegetables. According to Furman Center research by Vicki Been and Ioan Voicu, the establishment of a community garden in a neighborhood typically has a positive effect on surrounding property values over time. For the typical community garden in New York, which is publicly owned and a median size of 6,000 square feet, residential property values in the immediate vicinity increased 4.1% within one year of the garden’s opening, relative to increases in property values in the larger neighborhood. This computes to a dollar-value impact of $3,607. This impact grows to 7.4% higher after five years since completion, with a dollar-value impact of $6,551.
‘…We find that gardens were located on sites that acted as local disamenities within their communities. After opening, gardens have a positive impact on surrounding property values, which grows steadily over time , and declines somewhat with garden area and distance to the garden’ (Voicu and Been p. 268).
This impact appears to be most significant in lower income communities, where properties within 1,000 feet of a garden saw an average a 9.4 percentage point increase in property values within five years of the garden’s opening compared to those farther away from the garden.
For more information on these findings, see our report, The Effect of Community Gardens on Neighboring Property Values,” published in Real Estate Economics, Vol. 36, Issue 2 (Summer 2008).