To green or not to green: Establishing the economic value of green infrastructure investments in The Wicker, Sheffield

Ian Mell, John Henneberry, Berna Keskin, Sigrid Hehl-Lange

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Establishing the value of urban green infrastructure resources draws on a complex evaluation of social, economic and ecological influences. As a result planners have found it difficult to develop robust economic arguments to promote investments in urban greening. The Valuing Attractive Landscapes in the Urban Economy (VALUE) project facilitated a trans-national programme of investigations to establish economic values for a range of green infrastructure investments. This paper presents the results of a large-scale willingness to pay (WTP) survey (N: 510) for investments on Blonk Street, The Wicker, Sheffield. Using 3D visualisations of three alternative urban greening scenarios the research addressed the influence of green infrastructure on aesthetic quality, functionality and amenity. The evidence suggests that participants were WTP up to £10.56 or 2% more in monthly rent or additional mortgage payments to live in locations that have a high quality green infrastructure environment. The survey also examined the relationships between a range of socio-economic factors and WTP for green infrastructure (GI). WTP more rent was associated particularly with those in younger age groups and those with lower educational attainment. The paper concludes that investment in urban GI that is visibly greener, that facilitates access to GI and other amenities, and that is perceived to promote multiple functions and benefits on a single site (i.e. multi-functionality) generate higher WTP values. The findings of the study support the wider literature evaluating the economic value of GI which argues that investment in urban greenspace can have a significant impact on local housing and commercial markets where it produces more attractive and functional landscapes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)257
Number of pages267
JournalUrban Forestry and Urban Greening
Early online date23 Jun 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2016


  • Economic evaluation
  • Green infrastructure
  • Urban greening
  • Urban planning
  • 3D visualisations


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