Open spaces, including waterfront areas, are critical to coastal communities and provide many benefits, including recreation opportunities, economic development, ecological benefits, and other ecosystem services. However, it is not clear how values of waterfront ecosystem services vary across geographical areas which prevents development and adoption of site-specific natural resource conservation plans and suitable long-term land management strategies. This study estimated the monetary value of distance to different waterfront types in coastal counties of Mississippi and Alabama (U.S.) using a geographically weighted regression (GWR) approach as an extension to a traditional hedonic pricing method (HPM). In addition, the study utilized publicly available data from the U.S. Census Bureau instead of certified rolls of county property assessors and Multiple Listing Service (MLS) data which can be costly and difficult to obtain. Residents valued most waterfront types which was reflected in greater assessed prices for houses in proximity to these waterfronts. However, the value of ecosystem services associated with waterfronts differed geospatially. The marginal implicit prices ranged from −$6343 to $6773 per km depending on a waterfront type. These estimates will be useful to city developers, land-use planners, and other stakeholders to make more informed and balanced decisions related to natural resource preservation associated with coastal areas, land-use planning, and zoning. In addition, information from this study can be used in developing healthy living environments where local economy can benefit from increased property tax revenues associated with waterfronts and their ecosystem services.
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