1999 CPEO Brownfields List Archive

From: "Peter B. Meyer" <pbmeye02@athena.louisville.edu>
Date: Wed, 19 May 1999 15:23:45 -0700 (PDT)
Reply: cpeo-brownfields
Subject: Re: "The Economic Benefits of Open Space"

Emery Graham raises the question of "environmental justice" when public
efforts to stimulate open space preservation result in windfall profits
for some... His point is well taken. I agree this is an issue, but Emery
leaves out the other side of the coin, which is the impact on the poor
and landless of inbcreasing intensification of land use. This compounds
the problem of inequality.

More intense land use - more housing per unit land - is rarely
experienced by the more afflent, with more dollars available to spend on
housing. It is those less capable of competing for housing who will
suffer. Consider this: 
1. open space has value
2. people want to be near open space
3. people compete for housing with their dollars
4. those with more dollars will get closer to the open space than those
with fewer dollars
5. thus the number of housing units per acre near open space will be
lower than further away - because those with more money can also buy
more land, not just housing closer to amenities
6. Therefore, when we provide more open space, we add to the "open
space" the relatively rich would provide for themselves anyway - and to
make room for that open space, we need to pack the relatively poor into
denser housing -- and move them further away from the open space since
they can only afford to live on low cost land...
That's the puzzle for those of us who would like to see more public
green space available... 

 .... just an idea - but who's got others?  We need them if the efforts
to contain sprawl and preserve/provide open space are not to be pursued
on the back s of those already suffering on the negative side of the
environmental justice scales...

Peter B. Meyer
Professor of Economics and Urban Policy
Director, Center for Environmental Management
 and EPA Region IV Environmental Finance Center
University of Louisville
426 W. Bloom Street / Louisville, KY 40208
(502) 852-8032    Fax: (502) 852-4558

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