A Synthesis of the Relationship Between Parks and Economic Development: A Discussion with Four Developers
In the Portland region we cherish our parks, trails and natural areas, which we call The Intertwine. Park advocates, professionals and residents are frequently vocal about the benefits of parks including:
• natural beauty and being in nature
• greenways and trails are a top community amenity
• voters show a fairly consistent willingness to support parks at the ballot
• health, environmental, aesthetic and community benefits
• stormwater management and flood storage
• water quality, wildlife habitat and air quality.
However, in these tough economic times, we need to consider every public investment, including parks, in light of economic realities. Can we anticipate with a reasonable amount of certainty where public investment in parks will produce a positive and needed market response?
The discussions in this report with four local developers provide valuable insight into parks’ role as an incentive for development. This critical thinking is important now as public dollars for infrastructure are declining.
In addition to this discussion focused on the importance of site and community conditions, there is a larger consideration. The importance of the cumulative effect of The Intertwine is critical. Companies are looking at community livability and quality of life as they choose where to locate. Our region has benefited tremendously from this, but competition is keen. The careful growth of The Intertwine is essential to support the marketability of our region.
The audience for this report includes developers, mayors, planners, advocates and business owners as we join together to make investments that pay off for our region.