Distance to greenspace turns out to be rather valuable. The value of recreational and aesthetic services provided by green and blue spaces, amenity if you like, can be calculated in a number of different ways. One technique is to measure a surrogate good or service to establish the implicit price of the non-market good, e.g. by the capitalised value of property prices, which is what the ONS did in 2019. This analysis doesn’t differentiate the different kinds of natural capital, between say playfields, parkland and dogshit strips, rather it looks at the size, proximity, at the same time quite rigorously accounting for other factors like schools, deprivation and noise and pollution too, along with other potentially confounding factors.
The results are interesting in so far as “size matters” but not as much as proximity. The closer the area of green and blue space, the bigger the effect on the house price, but perhaps this should be no surprise. What is interesting is that at 0m the effect is most marked and drops very rapidly in the first 100m, and then declines more steadily but is still measurable at 500m. But where the areas of amenity are small the effect is markedly less, which kind of says that in the absence of substantial areas of parkland, parklets and street trees must be a good substitute, as well as private gardens, but there would need to be quite a lot of them perhaps to have any +ve affect on the price of your house.
As demonstrated over the last few pages, it isn’t that hard to analyse the promixity of a park, or car park for that matter, which the ONS data don’t have so much to say about. The following analyses look at just that, if only visually, using iso4app’s free API (and using just the basic assumptions).
You can park in any of the above locations marked by the black dot and be a theoretical 5 mins from the centre.
It is also very easy (too easy?) to park right outside your destination (e.g. in a bus stop, disabled space, on the curb etc), so being armed with this knowledge is unlikely to be that useful.
Walkability and cyclability are in the mind as is parkability. The decision whether to go on foot, cycle or take the car is a multifactorial problem, which may depend on:
- what you are going to do next (like going to work after dropping off the kids)
- the length of the journey and the time available (say you want to walk where there are less dog walkers or golfers, say you have to be back for a delivery?)
- the number of activities and errands (multiple tasks may well legitimise in the mind of the user taking the car)
- the nature of the errand (a recycling trip or shopping trip may necessitate the car)
- the weather (round here it rains on 100 days and then not all day – in Bucharest the car is an umbrella)
- who is going with you (3 or 4 small children are easier to control if tied in the back of the car)
- how you are feeling and emotional factors related to the following
- path factors (e.g. road safety, amenity, personal safety … at night say)
- geography and familiarity with the area / destination.
Whoever would have thought that such mundane things could be so complex? But these are the sort of factors that may discourage us from choosing active travel or for that matter using public transport.