The Great Outdoors, Indoors: An Evaluation of Green Spaces and Housing Prices in Pittsburgh, PA

Will McCullough

Student Name: Will McCullough
Major: Economics
Minor: Psychology
Advisor: Dr. Moses Luri
Green spaces, or public parks, playgrounds, and athletic fields, are a community hub. Many studies have highlighted the benefits of green space on surrounding neighborhoods. However, comparatively little research has assessed the relationship between park proximity and housing sales price. In Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, city officials have shown a renewed interest in increasing park access and quality, although no economic literature has examined role of green space in the housing consumption decision in the city. I develop a theory of green space preference in a consumer maximization framework to hypothesize that home prices will increase with proximity to green space. I then use a Spatial Auto-Regressive Moving Average (SARMA) model to estimate the impact of green space proximity on single family home sales prices in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. My results show that house sales prices will decrease by 2.34% with each additional mile from green space. This indicates a price premium on access to green space, further exacerbating inequalities between high and low socioeconomic status neighborhoods. This research highlights the need for additional research into environmental justice topics in Pittsburgh. This study was interesting to me because I was able to explore a topic relevant to urban planning and environmental causes, which I am passionate about. It also challenged me to learn new statistical techniques beyond what I was familiar with previously with enough support to do so successfully.

Will will be online to field comments on April 16: Noon-2 pm EDT (PST 9am-11am, Africa/Europe: early evening).

Posted in I.S. Symposium 2021, Independent Study.