Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Restoring Urban Drains to Living Streams

By Maksym Polyakov

A creek restoration in a Perth suburb has increased the median home price within 200 metres of the project by around 5%.

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

As urban populations grow and cities expand, peri-urban bush is cleared and wetlands are filled and drained to give way to new developments. As a result, creeks and streams are transformed into open drains retaining their capability to transmit storm water across the landscape (eventually connecting to major waterways) but losing their habitat, environmental and recreational functions. In recent years, urban planners, local governments, community groups and local residents have started to restore these open urban drains into “living streams”. The drainage function is still there but the effort has, in many cases, created a fully functioning wetland ecosystem.

For the restoration of urban drains to living streams to be widely adopted, it’s important to show that the benefits from restoration are greater than the costs. It is known that living streams provide a broad variety of benefits, and that some of these – such as recreational and aesthetic benefits – are valued by local residents. Evidence shows that people are willing to pay higher prices for houses in the vicinity of living streams in the same way that they are willing to pay more to be closer to local parks and nature reserves.

The impact of restoration projects on house prices can be determined via a statistical technique known as the hedonic pricing method. While this might take a decade to...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.