Return on environment: the economic value of protected open space in Chester County, Pennsylvania

350 210 Stroud Water Research Center

Bass, O., J. Bowers, P. Brown, C. Dow, et al. 2019. Report to the Chester County Planning Commission, West Chester, Pennsylvania.

Download PDF


Protected open spaces — public parks, preserved farmland, and private conserved lands — provide proven and substantial economic, environmental, and public health benefits to surrounding communities. This report indicates that protected open space adds significant value to Chester County’s economy, with benefits for businesses, governments, and households. This value occurs in different ways — some are direct revenue streams to individuals or governments, some represent appreciation in asset values, others are the result of avoided costs.

Building off a previous regional report and using standard economic analysis techniques, this report estimates the economic value of protected open space in Chester County by measuring impacts across five areas: property values, environmental benefits, recreation and health, economic activity, and cost of community services.

The benefits presented in this report provide information to elected leaders, policy makers, and the general public on the value of protected open space and contribute to informed decisions concerning both preservation and development in the county.