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The goal of Cityscape is to bring high-quality original research on housing and community development issues to scholars, government officials, and practitioners. Cityscape is open to all relevant disciplines, including architecture, consumer research, demography, economics, engineering, ethnography, finance, geography, law, planning, political science, public policy, regional science, sociology, statistics, and urban studies.

Cityscape is published three times a year by the Office of Policy Development and Research (PD&R) of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

  • Urban Problems and Spatial Methods
  • Volume 17, Number 1
  • Managing Editor: Mark D. Shroder
  • Associate Editor: Michelle P. Matuga

A Spatial Difference-in-Differences Approach To Studying the Effect of Greening Vacant Land on Property Values

Megan Heckert
West Chester University


This article details the use of a spatial difference-in-differences approach for measuring the effect of a vacant land greening program in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on nearby property values. Vacant land is a ubiquitous problem in U.S. cities, and many have recently begun to explore greening programs as an interim management strategy for vacant lots, in the hopes they will reduce the negative influence of vacancy and help to spur neighborhood development. The methods used here draw on previous approaches to modeling effects of greening on property values but expand on them to explore means of incorporating spatial relationships and allowing for spatial nonstationarity, in which the process being modeled changes across space. Spatial methods were used not only to derive data and choose appropriate observations but also to compare global and local versions of the analysis to assess spatial patterns and differences in outcomes across the study area, ultimately showing that, although greening vacant land increases surrounding property values, it does not do so uniformly across urban neighborhoods.

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