Economic valuation of improvements in the quality of City Park: an application of choice experiment method
Environmental conservation and provision of quality services in urban open spaces have become widely acknowledged as the responsibility of government. Urban open spaces are important resources in Kenya and around the world. To ensure urban open spaces remain highly maintained and appealing to visitors, a critical minimum levels of quality must be assured. After these minimum standards have been achieved, an understanding of the tradeoffs which people are willing to make among the various types of attributes and attribute levels will aid in selecting the resource management strategies which maximise the benefits to the society. This project used a discrete choice experiment to examine the tradeoffs people are willing to make among the choices of parks. given. The choices are based on indicators (attributes) specified in a criteria and indicator framework that permits tradeoffs. Face to face interviews were conducted in a randomised manner using a sample of 132 park visitors. A multinomial logit model was used to estimate the probabilities of selecting parks with given attributes and attribute levels. The study has shown that City Park management is an issue that concerns the residents of Nairobi. The study found out that out of 132 respondents in the sample, 99 (75%) supported improvements in the attributes and attribute levels while 33 (25%) did not.Those who supported improvements in the quality of the attributes, selected either more superior options than the status quo. The average willingness to pay for these improvements was found to be Kshs 110 and Kshs 99 for options A and B respectively. The study also found out that with increase in the price or cost of attributes, there was a systematic decline in the willingness to pay. This behaviour was found to be consistent with economic theory. Majority of the residents who visit the park fall in the low income bracket (Kshs 4,000 to Kshs 8,000). The study also found that most of the visitors to the park were from the neighbourhoods most of whom walk to the park. Residents do not want the park to remain in its present state d urge government to reallocate resources adequately for its maintenance. On a more conceptual level, this project successfully examined the tradeoffs behaviour of the public among the attributes under study constituting a significant contribution to resource quality management.
University of Nairobi, Kenya