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Oaks of North Lawndale: Economic Impact on Chicago's 24th Ward

The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) is an art and design school located in downtown Chicago. Anderson Economic Group was retained by SAIC to analyze the short- and long-term economic impacts of a large-scale tree planting and community development program in Chicago's 24th ward.

AEG estimated that spending on tree planting and community programming would account for 5-6 jobs in the 24th ward over the five years of the project. The project would also increase earnings in the ward between $210,000 and $226,000 annually. Output in the ward would be increased by by an average of $170,00 per year.

The most significant economic impacts of the project would occur in the long run. We found that increases in urban tree canopy are associated with decreased crime, reduced heating and cooling costs, reduced carbon dioxide and other particulates, and increased property values. Furthermore, the project could also serve as a tourist destination, attracting new visitors from outside of the ward. Once mature, the increased tree canopy could result in savings from decreased crime of up to $1.3 million annually, while increasing property values between 0.3% and 4.0%. Smaller savings would be realized from reduced heating and cooling costs and reduced emissions.

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