Starting in 1995, the New Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia was revitalized with street tree plantings, the planting of grass and trees on vacant lots, and the conversion of vacant lots to community gardens or side yards for adjacent homeowners. The goals were improving the community’s appearance, curbing population loss, attracting new residents, and encouraging reinvestment. There was a $4 million gain in property value through tree plantings and a $12 million gain through lot improvements.
The study finds that:
Vacant land improvements result in surrounding housing values increasing by as much as 30%.
New tree plantings increase surrounding housing values by approximately 10%.
In the New Kensington area this translates to a $4 million gain in property value through tree plantings and a $12 million gain through lot improvements.
Indirect effects, such as encouraging additional investment on surrounding properties and neighborhood reinvestment more broadly, are also likely to be large.
The direct and indirect impacts to the city’s property tax base are likely to contribute to the overall fiscal health of the city.