Small Parks Are a Local Benefit

A blog about business and economics.
May 16 2012 1:59 PM

Small Parks Are a Local Benefit

"Jasper can try to convince property owners that parks will increase the value of their property, so they should just build them for free," writes Lydia DePillis, "It's a pretty tough sell, though."

She then goes through other possible ways to encourage park-building in an urban infill neighborhood where development is springing up. But the difficulty of persuading nearby landowners to foot the bill should be a sign here. People like living near parks and people also like having more money. If it's not possible to persuade landowners that the extra value of a park will exceed the extra cost of the park, then probably the park shouldn't be built. To be sure, one can argue that some parks are important citywide amenities with large nonlocal externalities. Those are the kind of parks someone might deliberately travel to from another neighborhood in order to hike or play sports or whatever. But a small park in a newly-built neighborhood is basically a private benefit for the developers of the surrounding properties. If they want to pay for it, that's great. But if they don't want to, I'm not sure why finding a way to get one built should be an urgent policy priority. What touched this off was a change to the D.C. budget that took money away from park-building and gave it to low-income housing construction instead, and that seems like a very sensible tradeoff to me.

Matthew Yglesias is the executive editor of Vox and author of The Rent Is Too Damn High.

TODAY IN SLATE

Foreigners

More Than Scottish Pride

Scotland’s referendum isn’t about nationalism. It’s about a system that failed, and a new generation looking to take a chance on itself. 

What Charles Barkley Gets Wrong About Corporal Punishment and Black Culture

Why Greenland’s “Dark Snow” Should Worry You

Three Talented Actresses in Three Terrible New Shows

Why Do Some People See the Virgin Mary in Grilled Cheese?

The science that explains the human need to find meaning in coincidences.

Jurisprudence

Happy Constitution Day!

Too bad it’s almost certainly unconstitutional.

Is It Worth Paying Full Price for the iPhone 6 to Keep Your Unlimited Data Plan? We Crunch the Numbers.

What to Do if You Literally Get a Bug in Your Ear

  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 16 2014 7:03 PM Kansas Secretary of State Loses Battle to Protect Senator From Tough Race
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 16 2014 4:16 PM The iPhone 6 Marks a Fresh Chance for Wireless Carriers to Kill Your Unlimited Data
  Life
The Eye
Sept. 16 2014 12:20 PM These Outdoor Cat Shelters Have More Style Than the Average Home
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 15 2014 3:31 PM My Year As an Abortion Doula
  Slate Plus
Slate Plus Video
Sept. 16 2014 2:06 PM A Farewell From Emily Bazelon The former senior editor talks about her very first Slate pitch and says goodbye to the magazine.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 16 2014 8:43 PM This 17-Minute Tribute to David Fincher Is the Perfect Preparation for Gone Girl
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 16 2014 6:40 PM This iPhone 6 Feature Will Change Weather Forecasting
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 17 2014 7:30 AM Ring Around the Rainbow
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 15 2014 9:05 PM Giving Up on Goodell How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.