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Assessment of Decision-Support Tools to Communicate the Environmental, Social, and Economic Benefits of Urban Green Spaces
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The purpose of this research is to provide decision-makers of publicly managed landscapes with a systematized assessment of existing decision-support tools that can estimate environmental, social, and economic impacts. These tools can also be utilized by businesses, governments, and other entities to assess the value provided to their surrounding communities. Neoclassical economics has traditionally diminished the role of ecosystem services as a subcomponent in the global economy. The resulting understated value of ecosystem services has led to extensive allocation of natural capital and other resources to satisfy the high consumption needs of anthropogenic activities to the detriment of the environment. The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment completed by the United Nations was a catalyst for the sustainability movement and enabled the recognition of the global economy as a sub-component of the social and environmental configurations. This recent trend toward a more sustainable approach for the allocation of natural resources has led to the development of a diversity of assessment models to quantify ecosystem services and the environmental, social, and economic benefits they deliver to society. A state of the industry of public gardens survey was conducted to ascertain familiarity with decision-support and impact assessment tools and to determine how many have conducted environmental, social, and/or economic impact assessments. As expected, not many public gardens conducted any type of impact assessment, but most public gardens are considering addressing that issue. This research analyzed eighty-two decision-support tools based on a set of eight evaluative criteria and utilized twenty-seven decision-support tools in the case studies of six parks managed by the City of College Station (TX) Department of Parks and Recreation to evaluate the performance of the tools in publicly managed landscapes and determine an economic value of the environmental and socioeconomic benefits of the parks. Finally, recommended uses of the decision-support tools were made and lists of recommended tools for specific assessments and evaluations were generated based upon the analyses, with the i-Tree suite of tools being the overall recommended decision-support tool.
SubjectEcological economic valuation
principal component analysis
Burgner, Gerald Shane (2019). Assessment of Decision-Support Tools to Communicate the Environmental, Social, and Economic Benefits of Urban Green Spaces. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from