The value of water-related amenities in an arid city: The case of the Phoenix metropolitan area

E. K. Larson, Charles Perrings

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


In the arid metropolitan area of Phoenix, AZ, water resources play a vital role in maintaining and enhancing the urban ecosystem. There are several examples of " luxury" uses of water to create amenities not common to desert ecosystems: reduced temperatures, artificial lakes, golf courses, and abundant vegetation. In this study our goal was to appraise the relative value of these water-related amenities for urban residents. We correlated spatially explicit housing sales data from the Maricopa County Assessor's Office with environmental and locational data provided by the Central Arizona - Phoenix Long Term Ecological Research project to construct hedonic models at the regional and local scales to estimate the marginal willingness to pay for amenities associated with intensive water use. Our results revealed the preferences of homeowners for lowered temperatures, and vegetation abundance, however we found proximity to small parks to be generally considered a disamenity despite their frequent landscape design of grass, trees, and artificial lakes. At the local level of analysis, our analyses found examples where one attribute (e.g., plant richness) is considered an amenity in one place, but a disamenity in another, suggesting that there may be several markets in the metropolitan region. Because climate change models predict the US Southwest to become hotter and drier, evaluation of the importance of these water-dependent luxury amenities will be vital for future planning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)45-55
Number of pages11
JournalLandscape and Urban Planning
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2013


  • GIS
  • Hedonic model
  • Phoenix
  • Urban ecology
  • Water

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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