Sunday, March 10, 2013

Green Space as a Strategy to Displace Sex Offenders From Your Neighborhood

Few communities seek to have registered sex offenders living nearby.  This NY Times article sketches out a "killing 2 birds with 1 stone approach".  Neighborhoods in LA are creating small public parks.  By law, sex offenders can't live within 2,000 feet of such a park.  So, a neighborhood that creates a park gains double benefits as a set of people can no longer live in the neighborhood and this is common knowledge.  

Economics can quantify how much the marginal member of this community (i.e the person just indifferent between living there or not) is willing to pay (WTP) for a new park using past real estate studies.   This marginal WTP can be quantified if you take hedonic estimates from the urban green space literature on the increment in home prices if the same home is located close to a park and you add in the Sex Offender discount quantified in this AER paper.  As a supporter of the rise of "green cities" and "green communities", I hadn't anticipated this bundled benefit.