The Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Preferences for Parks and Personal Space

  • Author / Creator
    Kobori, Hotaka
  • Lockdowns and other non-pharmaceutical interventions that were implemented to combat the COVID-19 Pandemic have had unintended yet profound consequences. One widely-reported consequence has been changes in people’s perceptions of the value of nature and their personal dwelling spaces. Highly publicized anecdotes notwithstanding, the extent of change in people’s preferences for environmental amenities and housing space remains uncertain. Also, how to accurately measure the preference changes is an open question, as conventional methods may not be applicable to this unprecedented event. These evidence gaps have further complicated efforts to address land use management challenges in rapidly growing urban areas such as those found in Western Canada, including Metro Vancouver, Edmonton, and Calgary. This thesis studies the effects of the Pandemic on homeowners’ preferences for environmental amenities and housing space by analyzing changes in housing markets in these three cities. The research critically examines and employs two empirical strategies to a unique and extensive housing transaction dataset from the three regions recorded for the 2017 – 2021 period. Chapter 2 examines the case of Metro Vancouver, while Chapter 3 presents a comparative analysis from the two largest Albertan cities to expand the generalizability of the results. Different empirical approaches generate different results, with our preferred method indicating that changes in the values of open spaces and home attributes vary significantly across housing types and study regions. However, the prices of larger houses, overall, have appreciated most significantly since the Pandemic started. In Vancouver, houses, particularly lower-priced ones, in more heavily treed neighborhoods have become more expensive. This implies, compared to the pre-Pandemic period, the affordability of residence with urban vegetation has worsened, especially for the population who may already have limited access to environmental amenities. In sum, this thesis provides novel and timely insights into the unintended consequences of COVID-19 policies on the value of dwelling spaces and environmental amenities, as well as their potential impacts on the existing disparity in access to green spaces.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2023
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Science
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.