Build Community Fortune

With Love, Beauty Can Turn Tragedy into Fortune for LA Communities

February 14, 2018, By Isara Ongwiseth and Cassy Aoyagi: The “tragedy of the commons” is tragic, in part, because common spaces hold the keys to community wealth building. Two gardens, both featured on the 2018 Native Plant Garden Tour, showcase three ways communities can build their fortunes by giving common spaces a little love.

Elevate Home Values

It seems too good to be true, but it isn’t! Doing good for the community can help individual home and business owners do well! Beautiful common spaces elevate home and property values throughout a community.

The homeowners and businesses who benefit most are those closest to “naturalistic” parks and open spaces, where values have been shown to be anywhere from 8 to a whopping 32 percent higher.

Leaders with the Sierra Madre Garden Club and Sierra Madre Community Foundation partnered with the City of Sierra Madre to create just such a resource for the community. The Authentic Foothill Gardens fill the area surrounding city hall and the police and fire departments with vibrant foliage native to nearby wildspaces.

The city and community worked with us to envision gardens that would produce the greatest possible impact for the community. Yet, in evaluating the success of the gardens, they rely on the gardens’ “use value,” the enjoyment the community takes in the space.


Increase Sales Revenues

Focusing on enjoyment may actually make financial sense as well. Commercial areas shaded with tree canopies and vibrant with foliage attract more foot traffic. People also tend to stay longer and spend more. Time is money, and shoppers report a willingness to spend 9-12 percent more money in business districts with significant tree canopies.

Where parking is a premium, cities may benefit from these extended visits to commercial areas, even if visitors are simply window shopping!


Appreciate Appreciation

The patience to plant small and await growth can really pay off. Properly planted and maintained foliage appreciates in value as it grows! For example, in just three short years, the petite foliage planted at the Shotgun House Coastal Garden grew to fill the space.

A University of Virginia study found that the kind of plant growth represented in these two photos increased perceived home value by 36 percent.

Sierra Madre has seen similar growth in its community-installed gardens surrounding city hall. James Carlson, management analyst, City of Sierra Madre, notes: “The value of the foliage may have appreciated since its installation. What has certainly grown is our appreciation of its beauty and our residents’ enjoyment of the space.”
Community leaders who envisioned these gardens, motivated community action, and secured funding for these projects will serve as docents during the 2018 Native Plant Garden Tour April 14-15. If you dream of creating this kind of resource for your community, let them inspire you with their know-how and enthusiasm!

More Information

Want to love on LA? The impacts noted in this article are just a few of the ways sustainable landscaping can make a positive impact for our beautiful city! Learn other ways in which it helps Angeleno’s Make Our Own Luck.

In addition to the Native Plant Garden Tour, there are many opportunities to learn from and join in community beautification. Track our events to join us, or connect directly with our friends at the Veggie Bus, From Lot to Spot, Rosemont Preserve, the Sunland Welcome Nature Garden, and LA’s BEST! We hope to see you out and about.

Learn more about the data mentioned here at Green Cities: Good Health and The Effect of Landscaping Plants on Home Value.