As demonstrated by the recent COVID-19 pandemic, green infrastructure and public spaces play an important role in providing quality of life and amenity for our communities.
Green and public space can help improve physical and mental health, increase urban amenity, enhance local property values and provide places for our unique plants and animals to live.
In recognition of Premier’s Priorities 11 and 12, the department is working closely with NSW Treasury to deliver a green and public space sector-specific valuation framework.
- Premier’s Priority 11 - Greener public spaces increase the proportion of homes in urban areas within 10 minutes’ walk of green and public spaces by 10% by 2023
- Premier’s Priority 12 - Greening our city: expand urban tree canopy and green cover across Greater Sydney by planting one million trees by 2022.
The valuation framework
The department has developed a sector-specific framework for valuing green infrastructure and public spaces (the framework) that can be used to help prepare economic evaluations, including cost-benefit analysis. The framework has been published as an interim document to allow user testing ahead of its finalisation with NSW Treasury.
Once finalised, the framework will be a companion to the NSW Government's Guide to Cost-Benefit Analysis. It will include guidance and endorsed valuation methods to monetise the costs and benefits of green infrastructure and public spaces and will include repeatable dollar values of some benefits.
A clear and robust framework for valuing these benefits will enable a more consistent approach for decision makers considering investment proposals involving green infrastructure and public spaces.
What’s happening now?
An Interim Framework for Valuing Green Infrastructure and Public Spaces (PDF, 934 KB) is now available. It will be trialled by cost benefit analysis practitioners on NSW Department of Planning and Environment business cases in 2022. This will allow the guidance and values proposed in the document to be tested and refined based on real world experience before it will be rolled out for use by other NSW Government agencies.
The interim framework is complemented by Technical appendices for recommended approaches (PDF, 1.5 MB).
Contact the team
If you have any questions or comments about the interim framework, you can email the project team at email@example.com.
Your feedback will help us test and refine the framework before finalising the document.
To find out more about valuing green infrastructure and public spaces, download the frequently asked questions about the project (PDF, 164 KB).
The final version of the framework will also include the results of a choice modelling study (willingness to pay study) that is underway. This study aims to uncover how the NSW community value their green infrastructure and public spaces, and will generate values for:
- access to public open space
- shared greenery on public and private land
- ecosystem services benefits.
In October 2021, we held a virtual roundtable event where leading economists and policy makers explored innovative valuation and policy approaches that capture the benefits of green infrastructure and public spaces.
Benefits of green infrastructure and public spaces
The series of graphics below showcase examples of the financial benefits that green infrastructure and public spaces provide.
This information was collated from existing studies and demonstrates the type of information a valuation framework can provide.
Examples of valuing green infrastructure and public spaces
Two examples of existing projects that quantified the value of green infrastructure and public spaces are:
- 1. Improving tree canopy in Moreland, Victoria (PDF, 601 KB)
- 2. Waterways health improvement program (PDF, 670 KB)
How Moreland City Council monetised the benefits of improving tree canopy in their community.
How Sydney Water monetised the community benefits of improving the health of waterways in Greater Sydney.
Banner image credit: Destination NSW
Streetscapes of Central Park buildings in Chippendale, Sydney.