Arch. Myriam B. Mahiques Curriculum Vitae

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Urban trees and the value of properties

Trees in a street of Buenos Aires. From Tam Muro at
Jacaranda trees in Buenos Aires. From

I´m not surprised to see that urban trees generate extra value for the properties. I can´t imagine somebody disliking them, though, I know a case in Colombia,  exposed at a Symposium by a Colombian architect who explained that in some areas of Bogota, people preferred no trees in the streets because the trees were reminders of the fields, and the fields reminders of guerrillas. 

Platano trees in a street of Santiago de Chile. Picture by YYC at

From the article by Eric Jaffe:
¨In his quest to quantify, (Geoffrey) Donovan has investigated the influence of trees on neighborhood crime, electricity use, even the health of babies. Over the past few years he's focused much of his energy on measuring the effect trees have on home prices in Portland. The results suggest that "nice" and "good" can be pretty valuable words.
In the latest issue of the journal Urban Forestry & Urban Greening, Donovan and coauthor David Butry of the National Institute of Standards and Technology examine the impact of trees on rental prices. They looked up the asking price of about a thousand Portland rental homes on Craigslist, then collected data on the number and size of trees in the vicinity using Google Earth.
After controlling for the factors that someone examining the effect of trees on rent should control for — most notably, neighborhood desirability — Donovan and Butry determined that a tree on the lot of a home increased its monthly rent by $5.62, while a tree on the street near the home increased it by $21. Not exactly budget-busting figures. When combined with previous research, however, the results point to a clear preference for trees among Portland residents.
In a 2010 paper in the journal Landscape and Urban Planning, Donovan and Butry found that a tree in front of a Portland property added more than $7,000 to its sale price. Earlier this year another team of economists reported that walkability, in the form of nearby businesses, raises a Portland home's value by about $3,500 in a treeless neighborhood, but more than $22,000 [PDF] in a tree-lined one.¨
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