Valuing the benefits of the urban forest: A spatial hedonic approach

Seth Payton, Greg H Lindsey, Jeff Wilson, John R. Ottensmann, Joyce Man

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Scopus citations


This paper measures the benefits of the urban forest by examining its effect on housing prices. A Geographic Information System is used to develop a measure of the urban forest, the Normalised Difference Vegetation Index, from satellite imagery and to construct other variables from a variety of sources. Spatial hedonic housing price models for the Indianapolis/Marion County area are estimated. The models indicate that greener vegetation around a property has a positive, significant effect on housing price, holding everything else constant. This effect is dominated by measures at the neighborhood level. These findings indicate that property owners value the urban forest, at least in part, by the premium they pay to live in neighborhoods with greener, denser vegetation. These findings also indicate that public action to maintain and enhance the urban forest may be warranted. Planners and urban foresters can use these findings to inform public and policy debates over urban forestry programs and proposals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)717-736
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Environmental Planning and Management
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2008


  • Hedonic model
  • Housing prices
  • Land use
  • Spatial econometrics
  • Urban forest benefits
  • Urban form


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