Spotlight on Research: Building the Business Case and How Mega-Mansion’s Impact the Urban Forest
Spotlight on Research: Building the Business Case and How Mega-Mansion’s Impact the Urban Forest

How Real Estate Developers make the Business Case for Green Infrastructure Investment

The Urban Land Institute recently released a report on “Harvesting the Value of Water”. The report analyzes the public stormwater policy landscape and its connection to real estate development projects. It discusses how many real estate developers are responding to new regulations by incorporating the new requirements into their business models. In fact, some developers have successfully leveraged stormwater management mechanisms not only to reduce and manage runoff, but also to add value to their buildings. The report outlines why stormwater management is important to cities, and introduces a series of real estate case studies that have made the business case for green infrastructure through increasing potential development yield, introducing tangible amenities for residents, reducing operating costs, or building on a broader placemaking strategy.

Larger homes and more hardscaping lead to decreased urban forest cover in residential neighbourhoods

Recent research out of the University of Southern California assessed the effects of residential redevelopment on land cover. They found that redevelopment of single-family homes in Los Angeles County resulted in a significant decrease in tree/shrub cover and a significant increase in building and hardscape area. This was attributed to changing social views on the preferred size of single-family homes, along with the increased preference for paved surfaces like walkways, driveways and swimming pools that come with home expansion. The research concluded that protection of existing green cover in neighborhoods is necessary to meet urban forest goals, a factor that is overlooked in many existing programs that focus solely on tree planting.

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