Chicago is the first large U.S. city to understand the economic impact of its parks

The Chicago Park District oversees one of the largest park systems in the country. To assess the economic impact of the city's parks, Civic Consulting Alliance, Global Economics Group, and Roland Berger Strategy Consultants worked together on a first-of-its-kind study. Among the report's findings:

  • Chicago's parks generate $1.3 billion in annual economic impact
  • Collectively, the "mini-parks" scattered throughout communities have the largest overall impact on property values, both on a relative (2.8 percent of property value) and an absolute (more than $300 million as a park class, more than twice magnet parks) basis
  • Half a dozen "magnet" properties such as Grant Park, Jackson Park, and Northerly Island contribute the largest individual impacts
  • Residences within two blocks of a park (43 percent of homes) generate a combined $900 million higher property value than those further away

Beyond the economic impact, each park is a gathering place for neighbors to enjoy programming throughout the year, from festivals to sports leagues. The team estimated that in 2013, more than half a million people participated in programs on park property.

Working on a first-of-its-class study for Chicago's world-class Park District was intellectually exciting, and quantitatively reinforce the benefits we knew from experience that the Park District was delivering to the residents of Chicago.

Chad Coffman


Global Economics Group