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Renewal of waterways in a dense city creates value for residents
Ecological Economics  (IF6.536),  Pub Date : 2022-05-31, DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2022.107468
Maksym Polyakov, Md Sayed Iftekhar, James Fogarty, Joost Buurman

Water sensitive practices can improve water quality and city livability, but the extent to which these practices improve the welfare of residents is not well researched. We contribute to knowledge in this area using Singapore's Active, Beautiful, Clean Waters (ABC Waters) Program as a case study. The program includes the renovation and integration of drains, canals, and reservoirs with the surrounding environment. To investigate impacts, we analyse real estate transactions within 2000 m of 13 canals that were renovated between 2008 and 2016 as part of the ABC Waters program using both a difference-in-differences hedonic price model and a difference-in-differences exact matching model. To test the robustness of the result, we implement a placebo test by shifting the restoration project dates. We find the value of residential flats within 500 m of renovation sites increase by 1.6% (95% CI 1.0–2.2%) after renovation projects. The empirical strategy and the placebo test results support a causal interpretation of the effect of canal renovation projects on flat prices. The uplift in value for flats within 500 m of canal upgrading projects is estimated to be between S$336 and S$504 million. This exceeds the combined costs of all ABC Waters projects and provides evidence that the benefits of urban waterway renewal projects are greater than the costs.