Non-Hydrological Benefits and Citizen Preference

EPA Grant Number: R835142C004
Subproject: this is subproject number 004 , established and managed by the Center Director under grant R835142
(EPA does not fund or establish subprojects; EPA awards and manages the overall grant for this center).

Center: Center for Green Infrastructure and Stormwater Management
Center Director: Echols, Stuart Patton
Title: Non-Hydrological Benefits and Citizen Preference
Investigators: Ready, Richard C , Echols, Stuart Patton , Gray, Barbara L , Orland, Brian A , Shortle, James S. , Wagener, Thorsten
Institution: Pennsylvania State University
EPA Project Officer: Hiscock, Michael
Project Period: March 1, 2012 through February 28, 2017
RFA: Sustainable Chesapeake: A Collaborative Approach to Urban Stormwater Management (2011) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Pollution Prevention/Sustainable Development , Water and Watersheds , Sustainability , Water


Determine qualitatively which aspects of green versus gray infrastructure matter to citizens. For example, citizens may care about tree cover, but not about permeable paving. Measure the value that citizens place on salient attributes of green infrastructure. Values are defined by the tradeoffs that citizens are willing to make. If a citizen will accept higher costs (in the form of house price or association fees) in order to get more of an amenity, than the marginal value of the amenity is defined as the tradeoff ratio the citizen is willing to make. Recently developed methods such as the stated choice method allow simultaneous measurement of several different attributes. Information on which attributes are highly valued by citizens, which have low value, and which have negative value will help determine the degree to which it is possible to design green infrastructure systems that meet water management objectives while providing the highest possible nonhydrological benefits.


A five staged approach includes: 1) salient attributes of green infrastructure will be identified through a review of previous literature and a series of focus groups and will be conducted simultaneous with development of visualization tools in Project 2; 2), a survey protocol will be developed using an instrument that includes multiple green infrastructure scenarios for respondents to consider and react to. Survey and scenario development will include a second round of focus groups as well as test surveys administered to individuals; 3) the survey will be pretested on a small sample using the same protocol that will be used when implemented as a full survey; 4) implementation in the field and 5) attitudinal and perception responses will be analyzed using standard techniques for categorical or continuous data. Stated choice responses will be analyzed by estimating a random utility model.

Expected Results:

The research will determine the extent to which citizens value the non-hydrological attributes of green infrastructure so that the estimated values of these non-hydrological benefits can be incorporated into more complete cost benefit analyses of individual green infrastructure investments and communicated to decision makers in a manner that can motivate changes in local planning codes to allow and encourage green approaches to stormwater management.

Supplemental Keywords:

water, watersheds, groundwater, land, global climate, precipitation, effects, effluent, discharge, public policy, community-based, non-market valuation, preferences, surveys, public good, socio-economic, environmental assets, hydrology, engineering, social science, modeling, monitoring, surveys, measurement methods, Chesapeake Bay, Mid-Atlantic

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final

  • Main Center Abstract and Reports:

    R835142    Center for Green Infrastructure and Stormwater Management

    Subprojects under this Center: (EPA does not fund or establish subprojects; EPA awards and manages the overall grant for this center).
    R835142C001 Decision Making – Cognitive and Institutional Barriers
    R835142C002 Green Infrastructure Design and Visualization
    R835142C003 Hydrologic and Water Quality Modeling for Green Infrastructure
    R835142C004 Non-Hydrological Benefits and Citizen Preference
    R835142C005 Public Engagement and Outreach