Undesirable Facilities and Political Boundaries Neighborhood Dynamics and House Prices

EPA Grant Number: R823350
Title: Undesirable Facilities and Political Boundaries Neighborhood Dynamics and House Prices
Investigators: McClain, Katherine T. , Kiel, Katherine A.
Institution: Pennsylvania State University , Northeastern University
EPA Project Officer: Hahn, Intaek
Project Period: June 1, 1995 through December 31, 1996
Project Amount: $64,381
RFA: Socio-Economics (1995) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Environmental Justice


This study is two-fold in nature. The first part of the study is designed to measure whether the costs associated with an undesirable facility siting have been underestimated in the past by ignoring the effects of political jurisdictions. The second part of the study considers the question of whether neighborhoods near undesirable land uses change differently from those farther away, and if so, in what ways do they change. Both issues are addressed using an extension of an existing data set of house sales and physical characteristics from 1974 to 1991 in North Andover, Massachusetts, the site of a waste-to-energy incinerator. Estimates of declines in residential real estate values are usually measured only for the host community, or for a group of houses within a certain distance from a facility without regard to whether they are located within the boundaries of the host community. Since undesirable environmental externalities do not honor political boundaries, houses outside of the host community are also likely to be negatively impacted by a facility. The impact will most likely differ because host communities are increasingly receiving some form of monetary compensation from the operators of a facility while non-host communities do not. The timing of the impacts may also differ across communities. The neighborhood dynamics analysis is relevant in the framework of environmental equity issues. In many cases, locally unwanted land uses are located near minority and/or poorer populations. This may be due to racism or the fact that property values are lower in these areas. By considering neighborhood dynamics over time, the study considers whether the site is chosen because property values are lower in that area or whether poorer individuals have moved near the site because property values have fallen.

Supplemental Keywords:

RFA, Economic, Social, & Behavioral Science Research Program, Scientific Discipline, Geographic Area, environmental justice, State, Economics, decision-making, Ecology and Ecosystems, Social Science, Economics & Decision Making, residential property values, demographic, compensation, facility siting, hazardous environmental exposures, socioeconomically disadvantaged, decision analysis, property values, environmental equity, incinerator, neighborhood dynamics, political jurisdictions, environmental values, geographic location, Massachusetts (MA), environmental policy, house prices, minorities, political economy, community response to waste facility siting

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 1995
  • Final