Community gardens degrade real estate values? Think again.

By Russ Grayson

I HAVEN’T HEARD IT MENTIONED YET when people comment on the starting of community gardens in their neighbourhood, but I’m sure it is there somewhere unsaid in the background: will a community garden degrade my property value?

There’s no research I know of in Australia about this, however an email arrived in my inbox today from Nick Rose of the Local Food Network, a food security education and advocacy organisation in th Coffs Harbour/Bellinen aregion of north coast NSW. It;s an extract from a North American article from the Rodale organic farming advocacy organisation.

Let me quote:

“Cities have a new reason to choose greenery over concrete: Gardens improve property values, which in turn generates increased tax revenues.

“A study recently published in Real Estate Economics looked at housing values in a 1,000-foot ring around new community garden projects.

“In poor neighbourhoods where housing prices were significantly lower than in surrounding vicinities, values increased as much as 9.4 percent over the five-year period following a community garden’s opening. Immediate neighbours benefited the most, but even homes 1,000 feet away from the garden gained value.

“The researchers found that gardens had the greatest impact in disadvantaged neighbourhoods far from city parks. No matter where the gardens were located, well-maintained gardens had the most significant financial impacts.


  1. claire

    If you’re looking for the full reference, the article from Real Estate Economics is listed in the Annotated Bibliography of community gardening (under publications on this website).

    These research findings are a bit double edged in the US.

    So many of the community gardens there have been made by communities clearing out blight sites in impoverished areas. They’re intended as community organising and beautifying projects for the people that live there, but have sometimes become part of a process of gentrification. The idea that a community garden can raise property values – and therefore rents – means that the people who have worked together to improve their neighbourhoods can end up being priced out of them.

    And when there is money to be made from land sales, community gardens – with insecure if any legal tenure – are soon threatened.

    On the upside, increased property values mean more tax revenue available, which could potentially fund other community projects…

    But this hasn’t been an entirely happy research finding for community gardeners in the United States.

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