The Victorian Department of Land, Water, Environment and Planning (DELWP) was seeking to further understand the economic value of investing in urban open spaces, to inform the development of the Melbourne Open Space Strategy. The services offered by urban natural capital are not directly traded in a market, we used advanced non-market valuation techniques were used to estimate the economic value of the relevant assets and their services to the community.

The valuation approach we used utilised an ecosystem services framework to scope and value benefits of open spaces in the City of Moreland local government area. A range of services associated with open spaces were valued across the City of Moreland, including:

  • Carbon sequestration
  • Contribution to property price premiums
  • Mitigation of climate extremes including urban heat islands
  • Air quality improvements
  • Visual amenity to local and visiting population
  • Casual or commute trip connection passages/paths leading to traffic decongestion
  • Public recreation and exercise areas for cycling, running and walking.

Further investigation was then undertaken to collect and collate data to determine which services would be included in the economic evaluation.

The study findings provide monetary values for benefits of urban natural open spaces and can also be used to inform business cases development and cost-sharing arrangements between government and private property developers.

The project findings are being used to inform policy, support efficient resource allocation and support the prioritisation of different open space works.