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Identifying priority target areas for the Knoxville–Knox County hillside and ridgetop protection plan: using the value of visual amenity during the real estate boom of 2002–2007 and the recession of 2008

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In support of the Joint City–County Taskforce on Ridge, Slope, and Hillside Development and Protection, the goal of this research was to identify areas within Knox County, Tennessee, where views of hillsides and ridges were most valued and how those values were affected by different economic climates. The amenity values added to houses by their views were quantified for houses sold during a housing boom and again during a recession. The results of this study show that forest views add significant value to homes during both periods. However, the amenity value added to houses decreased 13 % from the boom period to the recession period, implying that forest views decrease in value when there is an economic recession. Additionally, the value of the view of barren/scrub land, which was not significant in the boom period, became significant during the recession, reducing house value almost $112 per visible acre and showing that while consumers are less inclined to pay more for views of forest, they are also less willing to endure disamenity views during a recession. When the forest land values were mapped to highlight planned areas with consistently high visual amenity values across both periods, some areas exhibited amenity values in excess of $100 per visible acre of forest land. The areas with the highest amenity values of forest land views roughly correspond to the areas with the highest disamenity values of barren/scrub view. These results imply that these areas represent the highest potential return on investment for preservation and reforestation efforts.

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Chadourne, Cho, and Roberts are, respectively, graduate research assistant, associate professors, and professor, Department of Agricultural Economics, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN. The views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of the University of Tennessee.

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Correspondence to Seong-Hoon Cho.

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Chadourne, M., Cho, S. & Roberts, R.K. Identifying priority target areas for the Knoxville–Knox County hillside and ridgetop protection plan: using the value of visual amenity during the real estate boom of 2002–2007 and the recession of 2008. Ann Reg Sci 50, 911–934 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00168-012-0519-z

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JEL Classification

  • Q51
  • R14