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The value of open space in a down economy

May 13 2008 | Jim's Blog,
by Jim

Central park has been estimated at having a value of $528,783,552,000. That's... more than five hundred billion. That's a "b" as in billion.

That makes perfect sense to me. Perfect sense. When I lived in NYC there was a clear sense of the value of open space and parks. I lived in Brooklyn and we'd often go to hear free concerts in Prospect Park. I also spent many weekends and free time in Central Park and the quiver of parks throughout the five boroughs. Those experiences helped me understand the value of open space. Of course I wasn't the only one that learned this... in fact I'd argue most cities have learned it including the major cities like London, Paris, Mexico City... the list is long.

It turns out Florida has learned this. Governor Crist just signed a bill which authorizes $300 million a year to be spent to protect Florida's remaining natural spaces.

(applause)

Hawaii is also embracing this mindset. Governor Lingle wants to buy the much-challenged North Shore / Turtle Bay property.

(applause)


But... in California Governer Schwarzenegger wants to do the exact opposite and has waxed on about his plans to close 48 State Parks.

(boo)

Open space matters. It's a meaningful part of the areas we live in. Parks and open space matter in both the short term and the long term.

The financial markets will swing up and they will cycle down... but regardless of the gyrations it's important to understand the need to leave open spaces for generations to come. New Yorkers know this, if Central Park was sold during a run up in real estate and today had malls and condos... Gotham City would be a much different place.

Kudos to Crist in FL and Lingle in Hawaii for their efforts.

Shame on the Governator for his.
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