Our friends at VERDUNITY have been using AutoCASE to value the benefits of parks. The City of Dallas Park and Recreation Department wanted value measures to tell the story of the benefits provided by their parks and trail system. VERDUNITY developed the metrics associated with the environmental and quality-of-life benefits.
The project team identified Impact Infrastructure’s AutoCASE software to translate these subjective criteria into real economic values. AutoCASE is a cloud-based solution that automates business-case analysis for infrastructure projects, using detailed project information to quantify financial, economic, social and environmental value.
Figure 3. AutoCASE helped analyze Kiest Park for possible green infrastructure retrofits.
VERDUNITY collaborated with Impact Infrastructure to develop a business-case evaluation tool related to environmental benefits provided by green infrastructure, which ultimately became the first module of AutoCASE.
Parks and open space offer many more benefits beyond aesthetic and recreational contributions. They provide immense value in reduced heat-mortality rates, improved walkability, higher property values, reduced air pollution, improved water quality, and a city’s capacity to retain and attract highly productive businesses and a talented workforce. VERDUNITY relied on AutoCASE to evaluate the Dallas park system’s overall value, including these important metrics, to tell the complete story of maintaining and enhancing the overall system.
The AutoCASE green infrastructure module, which analyzes the full spectrum of sustainable return on investment with a detailed focus on green infrastructure implementation, was used extensively in this analysis. The results produced a much broader view of the park system’s importance and will help develop a prioritization for retrofitting existing parks with green infrastructure. The analysis also will support planning for new stacked-function stormwater-management parks to greatly increase environmental, economic and quality-of-life metrics associated with the park system.
VERDUNITY is using AutoCASE to establish baseline environmental values for each case-study park based on values associated with operations and maintenance, recreational value, water-quality enhancement, flood protection, surrounding property values, heat-island mitigation and air quality.
Each of the case-study parks then will be evaluated to determine opportunities for green infrastructure implementation strategies that will maximize the value of environmental services. The capital costs associated with these implementation strategies will be combined with existing capital-needs assessments for the parks to establish a business case for retrofitting parks with green infrastructure strategies to optimize economic, environmental and social performance of public spaces throughout the city.